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We regularly preach our values without stopping to name them. Of course, our listeners have their own values: their own running themes they take from Scripture and uphold as most important. What happens when the preacher’s cherished values differ from our members’ cherished values?
Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections, if the stories I’ve heard from preachers in recent months are any indication, merely reading the Scripture will be interpreted by listeners as “political.” And they’re right. But not for the reasons they think.
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.
This woman facing certain death learned not only to manage her fear but to embrace it until it no longer consumed her or directed her actions. In these times where there is much to worry us, consider these lessons on how to preserve humanity—yours and others’.
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?
There is a risk of misunderstanding when we use certain “church words.” We say a word, intending one meaning, but our listeners hear or interpret something else. How do we ensure our listeners actually understand what we mean? Consider these four approaches to bridge the divide.
Based on the science of memorable speeches, the neuroscience of memory, and what makes a social media post go viral, content that keeps people talking has five things in common. Incorporate these essentials in your sermons, and see what kind of conversation follows.
Ever feel like you’re missing something in your preaching life? You’re not alone. And you’re not without options.
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?