Christmas is a glorious feast, and yet it can leave us drained, longing for a few minutes alone with that sleeping baby boy. We, too, need to fall on our knees to adore God. To help you renew your spirit, I’ve created a stay-at-home, guided retreat you can “take” on any quiet day during Christmastide. Designed to accommodate your choice of three schedules—one hour, three hours, or six—this retreat will guide your feet into the way of peace.
Your Christmas Eve sermon is one of the most important of the year, providing an opportunity to share the revolutionary Good News with those who may not frequent our pews the rest of the year. Here are eight things you should do and not do to ensure your Christmas sermon does its intended job: celebrate the birth of Jesus while helping listeners experience the wonder and implications of the Incarnation.
Conversational preaching can mean many things for preachers. But, scholars of language have studied this topic and identified several necessary features that distinguish conversation from other kinds of speech. One obvious quality of conversation is that there is more than one participant. And while this may sound outlandish in a sermon, the the truth is, you already have more preaching partners than you realize.
There are times preachers need a community beyond their own congregations. And often, other preachers are invaluable when wrestling the challenges of parish life—from handling a delicate conflict to finding something new to say in your sermon…again. Check out four times you need other preachers in your life, and consider ways you might cultivate that community for yourself.
Here’s the truth many clergy have shared with me: they are afraid to preach about issues of public concern. They know their sermons should in some way address things like racism, homophobia, climate change, sexism, economic issues, or hatred of foreigners, for example. But fear holds them back, keeps them quiet, and muzzles their prophetic voice. How can you preach when you are afraid?