Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Carol over at Tribal Church is asking lots of good questions about leadership although the comments seem to be all about what is good preaching, which makes me wonder a lot of things.

1. Does great leadership equal prophetic preaching? What about leaders who lead in other ways - as great teachers, for examples, or excellent administrators (I mean, it's not very sexy, but if you can run a meeting you can rule the world. Which is why I'm not not ruling the world.).

2. One of the comments equates prophetic preaching with really getting into The Issues. Personally, I've heard hundreds of sermons about issues, and just a few about Waking Up, so a really prophetic sermon for me is one that gets me all fired up about walking with Jesus and seeing where that takes you - which may be protesting the war or may be holding the hand of a young man dying of cancer. Both change the world.

3. Also, I'm reminded of my own love/hate relationship with The Sermon, which might be why I'm struggling with the preaching part of my job most right now. I mean, I love to hear to a good sermon as much as the next church geek. In fact I listened over and over to the cassette of the sermon that BBT preached at the FTE conference in, I think, 1998 (is that the year More Cows? do you remember that one? about how we were called to be Peter, not Jesus? it sounds obvious now, but at the time I thought I would die from relief.). But honestly, we know so much more about how people take in information now that we used to, and sitting and listening to someone else talk for 20 minutes (or even 12!) is just about the worst way there is to learn anything. I try to have people do stuff when I preach just to engage their other senses (have a drama, get them to talk to each other, walk around and look at pictures, close their eyes and pray, tie a piece of string, whatever) but it doesn't always work out and sometimes even that feels a little gimmicky or something.

4. Which is why I'm planning to go to the Festival of Homiletics in May -- it seems that a new sermon is pretty much expected every week, and having run through my Greatest Hits, I'm looking for inspiration. Any of ya'll planning to go? It would be good to see your faces.


more cows than people said...

umm... i think it was 1999, yup. and remember that that sermon figures in my dizzying discernment story? but i didn't remember the text or the ultimate message, just her naming of impostor's syndrome and the collective sigh of relief in the room that was SHOCKING to me. (in a good way)

when i saw the title of this post i pictured us in a car or getting out of a car, somewhere that FTE took us on that book project, a restaurant I think. we were talking about that memoir "Grace" and you were commenting that your main issue with the book was her over-inflated sense of the power of her preaching. for some reason that comment comes back to me a lot.

i definitely don't have an over-inflated sense of the power of my preaching and I'm with you on the issues thing. I don't do a lot to creatively move out of the talking head thing. I was thinking about doing something last week, but a wise friend suggested that I would be flattening the imaginations of my listeners if I did what I was thinking of. so i just preached.

sorry to go on and on...

and btw- a good pastor has to be way more than a good preacher. imho.

more cows than people said...

btw- good for you for your efforts to mix it up and creatively engage folks.

Tribal Church said...

Great thoughts, esp. "if you can run a meeting you can rule the world."

I have heard it a thousand times, "S/he may not be a great preacher, but s/he's a great pastor." It's so true.

Wish I could be at the festival...

juniper68 said...

thanks more cows - I'm so bad at remembering dates :)

Thanks for remembering that conversation - I needed that!

Also, good thinking on the whole props thing - that it can sometimes direct people's imagination more than opening it up... food for thought...