Friday, August 12, 2011

Thinking Ahead

I am now getting back into the swing of things after coming back from holiday earlier this month.  This week I have been going over the diary for the next few months having acquired a new one for 2012 while away.  While visiting the UK, I saw party venues advertising for Christmas - scary!

This is the time of they year when requests for assemblies and dates for events and meetings start pouring in for the next year.  It is a little depressing watching the diary fill up so quickly!  I got so used to filling in dates for 2012 that I signed something with the date 2012 instead of 2011!

Last Sunday, I was preaching on the set reading: Romans 10:5-15 and, in particular, on the theme of preaching itself.  Preaching and teaching the Christian faith were what I originally felt myself called to do.  I have always felt dissatisfied that it hasn't been more of a focus of my ministry.  Like other ordained ministers, I give regular Sunday sermons, but there are so many other other tasks also demanding time and attention as the diary illustrates all too clearly that it can only be one thing among many others.  Sadly.

Yesterday I talked about a TV programme popular in the UK to illustrate what I saw as a problem with preaching in the Church.  The programme is Dragon's Den.  In it would-be entrepreneurs make a pitch to 5 multi-millionaire investors - the Dragons - hoping that the Dragons will make an offer to invest in their company.

Many of the pitches are extremely professional and entertaining.  After the pitch, however, comes the questioning from the Dragons.  At this point, many of the ideas and companies that seemed brilliant in the pitch are exposed as not nearly as good as they originally sounded.  They are shown to be lacking in substance.

Congregations increasingly expect their sermons to be short and entertaining.  Like the pitches made to the dragons.  The trouble with short and entertaining is that, again like the pitches to the dragons, they can also be lacking in substance.

I have just started preparing for the sermon a week on Sunday.  This will be on Romans 12:1-8.  It has struck me how much weight Paul puts on the mind and thinking.  I have always believed that a sermon which fails to make people think has failed as a sermon, no matter how entertaining it may have been.  But more about that in the next post! 

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