Thursday, April 15, 2004

sermons, time, engaging

with the loss of a youth pastor at opawa, we have an input/speaking/preaching “hole” in our evening services. crisis or opportunity?

the church has about 150 people at a morning service and about 40-50 people in the evening, some repeats but generally much more youth~full.

we are in the process of looking for someone else to join the pastoral team, but in the short term the hole will not be filled.

i am reluctant to get a whole string of guest preachers in. i work 3 days/week for the church and dont want to serve up 2 different sermons a week.

so i have been thinking. one option is that in the evenings we “discuss and apply” the morning.
so i preach as per normal in the morning.

then in the evening i provide a brief re-summary of what I preached, so that those not there in the morning are brought up to speed.
then i provide a range of options: for example
– discuss what does this mean for a work situation
– discuss what does this mean for a contemporary news situation
– take some paints and express this text in colours.
– write a poem in response to this text
– work on an emotional exegesis of this text.

ie a range of interactive options. what do you think? crisis or opportunity?

Posted by steve at 10:34 PM


  1. crisis = opportunity

    Comment by Bald Man — April 16, 2004 @ 4:13 am

  2. Steve,
    interesting to read of your predicament. I understand the desire to not turn into a sermon producing machine. If it’s any help, since Christmas we’ve been going through the book ‘The Lost Message of Jesus’ in the mornings (it just acts as a springboard into the subject of say non-violent resistance) and then approached the same subject using visuals, art, liturgy and poetry in the evenings. If it’s me preaching in the morning, the rest of the team are responsible for the evening, so no one is carrying the can for both. It worked well and gave breadth and depth to each topic.
    Maybe this helps maybe it’s pap?

    Comment by si — April 16, 2004 @ 4:37 am

  3. An great opportunity…sounds good…helping move from being an audience of listeners to participants and an interactive outward looking community…

    Comment by Paul — April 16, 2004 @ 7:31 am

  4. definately think its an opportunity, and Paul puts it really well when he talks of shifting people from being listeners to participators.

    this would be a really welcome shift and allow people to think creatively about the biblical text rather than passively receiving whatever you say (not that it would be bad or boring, its just they may not be doing mcu thinking).

    the emotional exegesis looks like a good approach, but I am not sure how it would work in a group of 50. you may have to break into small groups, which always has the possiblity of some people being in a ‘bad’ one that has little discussion or reflection.

    Comment by gareth — April 16, 2004 @ 9:33 pm

  5. Big time opportunity. Perhaps introduce journalling as an emotional exegesis option? Everyone gets a journal and you get to store them at the church? That has the opportunity of bringing private and public into the same sphere. Dunno. Just a thought.

    Comment by Lisa — April 19, 2004 @ 4:44 am

  6. Yeah, yeah, opportunity, yadda, yadda.

    Opportunity: n a chance for the pastor to put in lots more unpaid hours 🙂

    In practice it depends what kind of people you have in the evening – what does “youth-full” mean? 10-20 or 30-40 🙂 –
    and what they expect.

    I’m not sure how doing a 5-minute precis of a morning “sermon” to the evening group would work. At least,
    it begs the question – if you can say it in 5 minutes in the evening, why are you taking longer than 5 minutes in the morning? I expect you have good reasons for doing so
    (but I’m not a preacher myself, so have no idea). It would seem to me that a lot of the subtlety and nuance would be lost.

    So, if it doesn’t make sense to do a precis, this then raises the question: Is it important that morning and evening gatherings follow the same programme?

    So you can do something more creative and participatory.
    It seems like you have space to re-think the whole evening event
    (if of course, you’d like to do that); offer a chance to get the people who belong to that group to see what they’d like to do.

    But overall ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ – unless you repeat the morning address verbatim (which may not be such a bad thing reallly, on the ground that noone listens to semons anyway; or at least few people remember them) – you, or ideally
    some other people around the place will end up filling in the gap some way or other.

    Comment by Sinner — April 20, 2004 @ 11:51 pm

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