The Preacher’s Plateau. We’ve all seen it, heard it, smelt it. It’s the growing sense that the preacher has a style, a pattern, a groove. A default. I’ve seen it happen to preachers even in their late twenties: they get approval for preaching in a particular way, and they then assume that that is the
‘Lay out the phrases in a way that makes sense to you.’ Memorise that.
The idea of the Pastors’ Book Group is that we all read the same book, and then meet up to discuss it over lunch. so what are we reading next, I hear you ask…
There are six questions for me to ask myself, with bite to them, which help me to focus as I prepare. They’re a test. If I can’t answer them simply, then I need to do some more work.
One of the great gifts that teaching at seminary gave me, was that I was forced to say out loud, in a copyable manner, the route I take from text to sermon. In fine detail. It forced me to become conscious of what I knew and did.
It’s not hard for our folk to be fed by superb bible teaching from around the planet. Then they come to church on Sunday, and it’s plain old us.
Your car mechanic will say if your wheels need balancing. Your doctor will tell you if your insulin’s out of balance. Who’ll spot if your preaching is off-centre?
If we become more attentive to our decisions to act and to the feedback, we can improve more carefully.
Artists and musicians produce dazzling and original works from a limited source. We have a dazzling gospel – so how come it produces such predictable preaching?
When I illustrate, I’m looking for echoes of plausibility, and they are most plausible when they are fresh.
Our illustrations often don’t really work. Here are 11 danger signs.
How can we be culturally ‘invisible’, so that people can hear what we’re saying with a minimum of interference?
I took the passage to a local coffee shop, and watched the customers. What does this passage have to say to 21st century urbanites, most of whom gave up on the god-idea years ago? How does this prise open their questions, address their fears and hopes, shift their distracted focus onto Christ?
I keep a list of preachers I run through as I am preparing a sermon. Particular preachers have gifts and emphases I want to learn to copy, and I find it really helpful having a physical document to print off, where I can force myself to see whether or not I have addressed each critical issue. The
We are pastors, and when we have a hard message, and we know the effect it will have, our hearts shift.
I hear preachers talking about their sermons as if they’re concept cars, pretty and accurate, gorgeous – but never taken for a real drive, in the rush hour, to do the shopping, in the rain. With the kids acting up in the back.
There are many differences between most of us and Billy Graham. But here’s a critical lesson we can all take to heart.
Cal Newport helps us see how to restrict ‘shallow work’ and its distractions, to work productively, and at depth.
Several times recently I’ve seen Christians caught out by video clips on the web , saying things which were, with hindsight, not what they should really have said. How can we minimise the risk of this happening to us?
From June 1st I’m going to be running a giveaway for copies of Thom Rainer’s new book, ‘Who Moved My Pulpit? Leading Change in the Church’. Stay tuned for more details! You can download a sample chapter from this post.