Following on from my claim that ‘the sermon is dead‘ I’ll now try and be a little more helpful.
I do think we should be asking ourselves series questions about whether the sermon slot should have an automatic place in a service (particularly if your intended use for it is to engender learning and growth). I think that preaching may be favoured by those who love to teach, however if people’s growth and learning was the primary motivation, I’m convinced that preaching would not be the chosen methodology.
However if on reflection, some form of led communication has a place then lets look at improving connection, engagement and effectiveness.
My plan is to scribble about a number of experiments and methodologies. My mused headers thus far are:
Earthed in lived experience
Dialogue not monologue
Use of story (and stories of the community)
Questions and Heckling
Response, experience and outworking opportunities
ALL AGE not kiddy
Being more visual
Showing not telling
I look forward to this conversation with you BUT not until after Easter. I have a couple of weeks off and will as part of that be a non blogger until April 8th. Every blessing my fine friends… Shalom.
I arrived at work to find that Carolyn (admin for amongst other things, youth and children) had bought me a present, or rather a present for my dog, Lexi. Tada …..a VW splitty squeaky dog chew!!! Genius
On the 16th and 17th April I have a pedagog from the Swedish Church visiting. She works with confirmation groups and confirmation camps and is interested to be in discussion with us in the UK about confirmation, discipleship and the like.
Anyone like to be involved in this? (Also the follow up possibility of a visit to a confirmation camp in Sweden). Let me know
As promised, a series musing aloud about communication; in particular the whole sphere of teaching, learning, speaking and preaching in and around the church context.
I remember reading a ghost story some time ago in which the main character had miraculously survived a plane crash that had killed all others on board. Inherent in the story was the suggestion that the crash was not an accident … and thus the unfolding story was his pursuit of justice and accountability for those responsible. The twist, that took some time to emerge, was that he had not in fact survived and was as dead as the rest of the people, he just didn’t know it.
I’m being provocative here but this feels to me a little like the sermon, at least the sermon in its stereotypical form. I’m thinking that in terms of cultural credence and in terms of effectiveness (depending on what it is you are thinking you achieving) it died sometime in the 90’s, but continues to haunt Sunday mornings in a zombie like denial of it’s demise.
Harsh? Maybe! (and actually I still believe in preaching BUT not as the only model AND also needing a more creative approach)
But where a sermon is a words only, is informational and delivered as rational argument that is monological, and coming from an ‘expert’ Christian, then I feel it has little in the way of authenticity, little ability to engender learning, and guilty of limiting faith to the propositional and intellectual. (and then only for those who are listening)
I might be accused of setting up a ‘straw man’ to knock down here BUT I’d argue that if you’ve ever experienced a sermon that’s drier than eating crackers without cheese, and has resulted in your mind busy wandering off to consider a raft of other things … like the ‘to do’ list for the week, then you know what I mean.
Musing out loud, as ever, but the plan is to scribble some thoughts about making communication opportunities more effective, whilst posing some of the questions I’m asking myself.
I’m helping plan a Mens weekend for the Church for November. Venue suggestions for 20 blokes within a sub 2 hour radius of Newbury? I thank you
In a moment of madness (or probably more accurately, outside of my occasional moments of sanity) I agreed to join a 50th Birthday Mens shindig to Yorkshire to attempt the three peaks there in ONE day. This ‘stroll’ will be in June so I still have a little training time but I still think it could be a kind of comedic hybrid of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Dad’s Army’ as it looks like a REALLY challenging day … especially rooted, as it is, in both a kind of collective mid life crisis and a denial of the fact that we are not as young as we were.
The details read thusly:
Distance: 25 miles (40.2 km)
Time: 8-14 hours
Difficulty: Very Hard
Climbing: 1,672 metres
I have never EVER walked this kind of distance in a day before and especially not tackling the equivalent of 1.6 Snowdons (from the beach) in the process.
Ann Memmott, the Diocesan Adviser on Autism has produced this great resource to aid inclusion of young people on the Autistic spectrum: Including Young People on the Autism Spectrum.pdf
She also flags up this VIMEO video that attempts to embody what sensory overload feels like and why it is such a difficulty.
Talking of presentations I was at last week. It was a privilege to be at a breakfast hosted by the Open Doors Youth team. Their passion for supporting the persecuted church worldwide AND sharing how the resultant stories and experiences can impact young people here, was a great blessing to hear and experience.
I bought two copies of their “My Heart Bleeds” Lifestyle sessions resource “A look at what it means to follow Jesus through the lens of the persecuted church!” So, I have one to give away …. if you want it just leave a hello or the like in the comments (remember to ‘preview’ then ‘publish’) and I’ll pick someone at random.
I was at a presentation from BRF last week where they were highlighting their Who let the Dads Out resourcing. Broadly speaking it’s a Monthly Saturday morning for Dads and their Kids. Great to chance to connect with and support local dads. Have a look!
SUPPLEMENTAL: Loving the fact that my Coffice let me in ahead of their 07:30 opening time so I didn’t have to wait in the cold.