God's glory is revealed in the small as well as the big: in the sparrow and the heavens, the mustard seed and the mountains, the little children and the disciples. And our preaching grows stronger when we learn to attune ourselves to the way God appears in the smallest details of the Bible's stories and text.
In these busy weeks as you plan liturgies and craft sermons, we hope you'll steal a few minutes for yourself to savor this free collection of Easter quotations—not only to enliven your preaching imagination but as balm for your own spirit. We pray this rich collection of Easter wisdom, humor, and insight helps you remember the Resurrection is for preachers, too.
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 discourage preachers.
Fasting helps us discover what we believe we can't live without...all of which we can live without because God alone is the source of our life and breath, our contentment and joy.
Abstaining from food is the most common form of fasting, and I commend it. However, we might consider these five other forms of fasting for our personal disciplines and sermon messages.
Maybe you want it revealed. Maybe you don't.
Regardless, it's on display in every sermon.
What am I talking about? Your backstory.
Your backstory is the story you tell in your sermons without "telling" it. It seeps into your sermons whether or not you say the word, "I."
Your backstory is the unique mixture of your theology, childhood, DNA, education, church experience, personality, political persuasion, and so much more. It affects how you approach the Sunday's scriptures, influences your conclusions about them, and shapes your style and the purpose for which you preach.
To preach the message you intend to preach, consider these three aspects of your backstory to help you use your backstory in service to your preaching.
During stewardship season we preach to our parishioners about the need to offer their time, talent, and treasure.
But we preachers need a different conversation.
We need a frank, "backstory" conversation about our personal dependence on parishioners' donations, and the ways money affects our relationships with parishioners and colleagues and our capacity to preach with our whole selves.
“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?
"Preaching to preachers has to be about the most delicious thing I can think of."
That's roughly how Nadia began her sermon to 1700 preachers, some of whom are the brightest luminaries of our vocation.
That one word stopped me short: "Delicious?!"
If you or I were preaching to 1700 preachers, would we use the same adjective, "delicious"? A word that connotes a feast, an indulgent treat, a delightful experience to be savored?
Or would we be more likely to choose an adjective somewhere between nerve-wracking and paralyzing?
Or is that just me?
What would make preaching to so many colleagues "delicious"?