Posted by: Douglas Mehling | January 20, 2008

Staying awake

I have mentioned a couple times on my blog my concern about people falling asleep during my sermons and seminars, but I feel like sharing a few more thoughts on this phenomenon.  First let me say to those of you reading this who might have fallen asleep during some of my presentations, I’m not complaining.  I understand how difficult it can be to stay awake these days, especially with the challenge of getting enough sleep.  And I realize that some sermons or presentations can’t keep from being dry at times.  I also imagine it can be frustrating for you when you want to concentrate on a speaker but feel an overwhelming sense of lethargy and start dozing off.  I just wonder what can be done to help this situation.  Have we always had this trouble as humans, or is this just a recent phenomenon of our complicated and fast-paced society?  And does  responsibility for staying awake lie with members of the congregation or with the preacher?  Should church members try harder to get more rest and find ways of staying awake at church or should preachers try to make their sermons more interesting?  These are some of the concerns I’m sure I will be facing more and more.


  1. Doug,

    Now don’t take it so personal. I can remember reading how preachers in the 1800’s use to handle this. Some would wack the sleeping beauty with a yard stick to arouse them. I’ve even heard of others who would throw a hymnal at the ofender. I really don’t think it’s you or a “recnet phenomenon”. Your sermonds are very interesting. What you’ve done with your power point gives it more punch, more interest.

    But knowing some of those who do dose at church I also know it’s because of health issues, medications they’re taking for blood pressure or other problems, and burning the candle at both ends.

    I’m always trying to squeeze a little more out of my day and as I get older it’s putting more of a squeeze on me. while I don’t believe I’ll ever doze off on you, I hope someone will nudge me if I get to snoring too loudly. :o)

  2. One of those marshmellow guns would be ideal ……..

  3. There are times when I am so interested in something and cannot keep awake. A comedian might keep my attention, but deep meaningful information can be less stimulating for some reason. I know that not getting enough sleep and eating too much makes a big difference and of course, certain medications.

  4. Unless you’re a loud fire and brimstone type of preacher, your audience is always going to have a few sleepers…We’ve got a great, inspiring pastor, and whether I doze off or not really has nothing to do with his sermon, but more with my own life – my spiritual interest, my habits (did I go to bed at 2am?), etc. Not much of it is your fault, in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep them awake either. 🙂

  5. Hey I’m with Trever, don’t take it so personaly, you’re not the first preacher who has nodded off a pew sitter. He’s right! It has more to do with them than you.

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