Here's the final snippet of my article 7 Ways to Get Through to Your People from the September 2008 issue of Pentecostal Messenger:
7. Surprise ThemNote: If you don't already receive Pentecostal Messenger and you'd like to, the Pentecostal Church of God is offering free subscriptions for the remaining 2008 issues. For details, go to www.pcg.org.
Our brains continually compare sensory input against known data. Certain sounds, like the sound of our own breathing, are routinely ignored. We don't pay attention to typical smells or sights. Dr. John Medina, director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University, puts it simply, "We don't pay attention to boring things."
Other sounds or senses alert us to action. A car horn, or even a footstep, can jolt us to state of alert. A stinky diaper cuts through our mental fog and moves us to action.
Similar things occur during sermons. If we've heard it before, our minds wander. If it's something new, our mind says, "Hey! What's this? I've never seen this before!"
Preachers must continually seek new ways to declare ageless truths. Pray for renewed passion. Use fresh testimonies. Reference pop culture. Change the sermon style from topical to expositional or vice-versa. Change the order of service. Do whatever it takes to keep from doing the same old thing over and over again.