Someone emailed me recently to comment on a sermon I preached 7 years ago. I shuddered to think! Not that everything was bad 7 years ago, but of course, one learns so much over that time. I'm not setting myself up as an expert, and I've got a long way to go, but I am going to write 7 things I've discovered about preaching over 7 years, with some suggestions. You can read this alongside an MO for Preaching. Keen for your thoughts.
1. POSITIVE IS THE NEW BLACK
My tongue is firmly in my cheek as I write that, as if being negative where ever trendy. But there is truth here.
My Modus Operandi used to be: Start by telling us what we currently 'think', why it's wrong and why the Bible is right. The trouble with this is that it could be an exercise in power. And it gets tiring for the hearer too. Better, I think, to start by asking what God has for us that is good and right and reconciling, even if sometimes difficult to for our sinful hearts to hear. That is, what faith can be cultivated in dark times? What hope will we be lifted up here this morning? What love is possible? What ways can I be resourced to live the Christian life? What things do we do to banish error and take every thought captive to Christ?!
I certainly do preach negatively, but I now make it part of the body of the sermon, rather than its focus. Unless it is obvious that something strong needs to be preached. I'm thinking of Galatians here. But the default position must be to construct, rather than deconstruct.
Positive is the new black.
#2 to come.
Pic on Flickr by my way home.