It's easy to get stuck in ruts. To rely on old patterns even if their result is tired. To fall back on the same practices whether they're effective or not.
Sometimes creativity thrives in routine. Other times, a small tweak to our mindset, technique, or process can deliver unexpected results—or even unexpected joy.
This holiday week, we've rounded up some of our most popular and useful blog posts to help you find the encouragement and strategies you may need to try something new.
Pick one thing to shift this week and see what happens.
Then click the blue title to learn more about crafting effective sermons while nurturing your own God-inspired wonder.
No part of the church's salvation is or ever has been the preacher's sole responsibility, neither for the broader church that has existed for millennia, nor for our individual congregations. As soon as we believe we bring salvation, we miss the Gospel.
The definition of insanity often attributed to Einstein is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes, preaching can feel like an exercise in insanity: we present the good news over and over with what feels like little effect. Maybe it's not our preaching that's insane, though, but our expectations. Check out two perspectives that will help you avoid the feelings of futility that discourage preachers.
Why does a Gospel text bother us? That’s the essential question to ask when confronted with a text we don’t like. There are many possible answers, yet the essential answer is this: The text bothers us because it conflicts with our understanding of God. So how do you find the sermon message when dealing with these texts? This process examines the backstory of your faith so you can name your theology, identify the apparent inconsistencies in the text, and then bridge the gap between them.
Tension is what keeps the audience engaged in a book, movie, or story around the campfire. It's the factor that has them wondering, "What happens next?!?" Learn how to harness tension in your sermons to keep your own listeners on the edge of their seats.
How do you craft a sermon that will stick with listeners after they leave the building? What makes a message memorable and keeps folks thinking about it long after the benediction?
The question "What am I going to say?" creates pressure. Builds tension. Raises stress. If the answer is not forthcoming, you panic, worried that if the words aren't coming now, they many never come. But start with play, and the atmosphere shifts palpably. You are here to discover. To explore. To experiment. What might you find? What will emerge?
With all the demands on preachers during the week, spending your weekend prepping your sermon can feel like a forgone conclusion. But you don't have to accept this lifestyle as the status quo. Consider these strategies for prioritizing sermon prep during the week so you can enjoy your non-preaching life, too.
The Transfiguration: We know this story. Every step up the mountain. Every word spoken by a human or from a cloud. And every reaction from the disciples. We know this story so well it's memorized. The same is true for the birth of Christ. The resurrection. The familiar cast of Old Testament characters. The miracles and parables. How do we find something new to say about stories and passages we've heard, read, and taught dozens of times?
What will you shift this week? Pick one small change to implement for your next sermon, and let us know what happens!
What have we missed? Is there an area you're struggling in as a preacher where we can offer support? Let us know. We're here to help you be good news so you can preach good news.