Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Preaching for Pioneers

Had a conversation with someone yesterday about the nature of preaching -- I must be a very naive L-plate preacher, because a lot of things I find other theological students struggling with are issues it never occurred to me existed. I have a simple approach to preaching, my job isn't to prove how much I know, or dazzle anybody, or provide the most watertight exegesis of any particular passage (as if I could!!). Consequently I'm not tempted (like most of my fellow students seem to be) to drown my audience in information overload, because I'm starting from the other end: What do I want them to understand/do about the subject I'm addressing? If it builds toward that goal, it is included; if it would distract people from the main point, it is left out.Rightly or wrongly (and who knows? we seem to each have our own theology of preaching -- there is no one definition of what the perfect sermon is supposed to look like) my sermons are shortish, tightly structured, very careful to have biblical backing for every assertion I make, and with one or two developed analogies, since I really believe that picture language is what people will remember long after the logical propositional points havce been forgotten. it is our hearts, not our opinions, that most need to be changed and transformed! For instance, my last sermon, on living purposefully, challenged people at the end to decide which kind of boat they were: 1)safely anchored, 2) having a great time on board and not caring where they're going 3) haven't left the shore because they're constantly redecorating the boat 4) have a strong motor and have decided exactly where they're going, or 5) put up their sails, to go where the wind of God takes them, with the cross as their mast and the bible as their chart to keep them from the rocks. My next sermon (on evangelism:NOT my subject but that's another story, this will be a very different take on evangelism fromwhat most of them have ever heard) is going to challenge them to be car sponges that stay fully immersed in the bucket ( I do enjoy this!!) Talking to my friend yesterday, I remember the stuff I had read on settler/pioneer theology, i found it at
In this paradigm, the role of the clergyperson (make that preacher) is to be the cook who serves up the meat the Holy Spirit brought. As i said to him, when I'm cooking for guests, I make sure there is enough to feed them, but I don't stick in every ingredient I can find in the pantry. I carefully select (and make sure i include salt -- must think through that analogy!) the seasonings, I do not want my guests to either spit it out in disgust or suffer indigestion after. I want them to be properly nourished, and to enjoy the process! But maybe that's just a pickle-approach!

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