(A guest post). Ever wonder what your listeners are thinking week to week? Consider these three suggestions from a life-long parishioner to ensure your messages connect at a soul-level.
It is simply a fact of the preaching life that, at times, we will be required to set aside our prepared sermons and speak to the events which surround us, testifying to how we see God in and through them.
How do we decide when to continue with our sermon as prepped versus adjusting our sermon at the last minute?
We tend to consider the physical aspects of preaching only in the context of delivery:
- raising or lowering the voice to emphasize phrases
- using gestures to enhance a point
- breathing in sync with the flow of sentences
But when is the last time you used your body and voice in sermon prep?
Or before you climbed into the pulpit?
Have you ever?
We're 7 Sundays from Labor Day weekend. How do you feel about heading into the next program year?
Are you excited and confident in your routines and processes? Or are you dreading the increase in activity, the weekly scramble to get it all done, the seemingly endless demands on your time and energy?
If you're dissatisfied with the way your sermon preparation and preaching went last year, the slower pace of summer is a great time for reflection and change.
A small investment of time over these next few weeks could transform your preaching life for the rest of the year. How do you make the most of the slower days of summer to make lasting change?
This isn't another guilt trip or admonition to prioritize God. Our problem is not in our intentions. Of course, we want to spend time with God.
The problem is in the execution, which often comes down to our planning—or failure to plan.
With competing demands, many of which are worthy and important, prioritizing this time of solitude with the invisible God can feel abstract and therefore less important.
We're tempted to think it doesn't really matter. But it does.
So how do we make this time happen?
“The Mainline Church is dying. Therefore, Preachers, you must do ______ to fix the problem.”
These stories suggest that “it” is simply waiting for each of us to imitate or discover. If only we find “it,” the congregation will revive. It’s up to us to keep looking for “it,” and if the church doors close in the meantime, we are responsible for not finding “it” in time.
Of course, pray a lot and rely on the Holy Spirit.
But in truth, most messages imply it’s really up to us.
Wow. That’s a lot of responsibility. But is it truly ours? What, exactly, is our responsibility here?
hether you're new to creating a series or an old hand at it, A Preacher's Guide to Lectionary Sermon Series: Thematic Plans for Years A, B, and C * addresses these concerns, offering a thematic roadmap preachers can follow with little effort.