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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?
The three T’s of stewardship are treasure, time, and talent. But perhaps there should be a fourth.
When preaching on the stewardship of time, it can be tempting to preach either scarcity or sentimentality. Neither helps our parishioners. There is one question, however, that can.
The “M” word consistently makes preachers squirm, perhaps because it’s so wrapped up in our livelihood and the sustainability of the church. But money impacts so much more than our salaries and budgets. It’s a critical influence in nearly every aspect of a parishioner’s life. So our silence on matters of finance may be hurting the very ones we wish not to discomfort.
We often fail to understand the ways our everyday choices impact our environment and, in turn, our neighbor's quality of life. As preachers, we have an obligation to illuminate this reality and invite our listeners into a new dimension of relationship with their neighbors through creation. And not just on Earth Day.
When you preach the same sermon across multiple services, there can be a drop in energy, enthusiasm, or presence as the morning wears on. How do you maintain focus and attention so that each event receives the fullness of your abilities?
Why do we care about a story’s shape? If Christ has redeemed all, ensuring every story ends above baseline, what is the purpose of exploring what comes before? We ask different questions—and discover different answers—when we're honestly following the story's shape into every moment.
Collaboration invites us beyond our own limited understanding to gain new insights and consider other perspectives. It refines our ideas and helps us solve problems that seem insurmountable alone. Not only is the burden of sermon prep lightened, our authentic connection to our listeners is expanded. We are simply better when we are working together.
When you preach, what do your listeners learn about God? Are there any subconscious or “embedded” beliefs that sneak into your sermons without your awareness?