Why do so many parishioners find themselves in pews, week after week, listening to sermons that are vague, confusing, boring, discouraging—or that simply don’t connect? And what can preachers do to change the dynamic?
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As Christmas approaches, many stresses become more acute and frequent—like the pressure to produce high quality (though not-over-the-top-perfect) sermons, liturgies, and music; pastoral care needs; disagreements between church leaders; and the expectations of parishioners, your family, and, perhaps, even yourself.
To that end, I’ve already started preparing for Advent. As a result, I have lots of healthy food ready to eat, my office is a place I enjoy again, my calendar and to-do lists are manageable, and there’s plenty of open space for sermon prep.
If this sounds too good to be true, I assure you it’s not. It simply takes a decision to spend a bit of time now to free up a lot of time later.
If you can spare an hour, I can help you strategize your December for a season of calm, connection, and clarity.
How do you shift? How do you experience more joy? How do you discover sermon prep as respite rather than a chore?
Between Jesus's "It is more blessed to give than to receive" remark and our American ethos, we swallowed the idea that being independent, self-sufficient, and the one to offer help is superior to being dependent and asking for help. But we’re missing something important.
One of the best ways to improve a craft is to study and learn from the masters in the field. This week, we introduce you to three respected preaching teachers and invite you to join us in learning from them over the next few months.
There may be more than one way you and your community relate to one another depending on circumstances. It’s likely that sometimes you preach as an authoritative teacher, and sometimes you speak from your position as a fellow Chirstian. But then ask yourself: how does the way I talk about myself and my community in my sermon signal those relationships?
Most resources we guard and amass as precious stones: money, skill, assets. But there’s one resource we give away as though its scarcity were a badge of honor…
How can we preach on “hot topics” in a way that invites dialogue rather than driving a wedge into the red-blue divides of our congregations?