Preaching continued

I enjoyed the comments on the preach/sermon divide that I flagged up (thanks) and the call for another catergory of “talk!” I however like the dynamic of the word “preach” and am going to run with it for the moment.
I find it much easier, in one way, preaching to groups of young people, you get so much more feedback and reaction; it’s easy to read when you are connecting and when you’ve lost the plot. (This also makes it harder too) By comparison adult congregations are really draining as it’s difficult to get a reaction you can read …. also adults are much better at masking what they’re thinking, so you can just “sermonize” without knowing when you are irrelevant. I believe this makes the sermon, in many ways, too easy! The sermon slot exists and it will be filled/tolerated!
Weirdly the law is totally on the side of the sermon. The 1861 “Offences against the person” act makes it illegal to interupt any part of the service including the sermon. I think a healthy dose of heckling or at the least a well timed,
What are you talking about?” would be enormously productive!
preacher small.GIF
The trouble is the sermon begats the sermon and failure to develop just replicates a style of communication that is totally alien to young people!

4 Replies to “Preaching continued”

  1. The word preach is pretty fascinating actually… ***WARNING***LATIN APPROACHING***
    It comes from the verb “predico, predicare, predixi, predictum” which literally means speak before. This can be translated as either the stand before people and speak or to predict, to speak before the event, to PROPHESY!

  2. Been following the discussion on sermon and preaching. I think we fool ourselves if we think preaching is more interactive etc. If the issue is to try to get people to engage, and take on a subject or God for themselves then we need to come back to how people learn. For most cases the more monologue or upfront approach (preaching included) is not that helpful to learning. I agree some preachers are great and we often remember the story, however the preacher will often explain the point (unlike Jesus) which we forget (so inhibiting learning). I think the bible only endorses preaching/teaching because of learning and the methods were only relevent for those contexts and times. We need to re-evaluate our startpoint and work out how can we enable people to learn. There may be rare contexts that may be revelent for a preach (if done well/ interactive and including many of the points you raise so well). However We have generations grown up using dialogue in schools as a the key approach to learning (from the early 60’s when educational approaches started to change) this had a massive socialising effect on how people learn. This means most people under 55 years old have a more dialogue or interactive learning style. Too often we think mutual dialogue is just for young people. Have you ever noticed how much more people get from the childrens talk or when you go interactive in church? Preaching and teaching in the way most christains think about it is counter productive and in most cases you may as well speak to the wall, and stop trying to flog a dead horse. Apologies of the length of this comment (or preachy nature) but as you can tell you have touched on one of those issues.

  3. I don’t know why but I can’t post a comment on today, only yesterday, so here goes:
    A much as the english language is wonderful in it’s synonymous vocabulary, to talk about ‘sermon’, ‘preach’ and ‘talk’ is all the same thing to most people. It is the bit of church few look forward to, as much as the headmaster’s talk in end of term assemblies. It’s dull and irrelevant.
    Most of the time (from my vast years of experience – tehehe) it is dull and irrelevant. Why? Because speaking is not something everyone can do. Churches seem to be very bad at using the gifts people have and not choosing any person to do any job.
    Ideally, we would all be taught in small groups where we could question and discuss and be inspired by each other, but in reality there are too many of us who know nothing and not enough that know enough to teach us! I think I learned more in a few small-group bible studies and homegroups than in any sermons/preaches/talks. Only a few talks stick in my mind – and they are the ones that left me with something unexplained, something to think about. I have a long list of quotations like
    ‘without the batteries you can’t see the tractor’
    ‘icing on it’s own makes God sick’
    ‘don’t be a balloon, be a lemon’
    ‘Jesus is our ark’
    ‘God owns all the donuts’
    etc etc… and they all remind me of somewhere, somewhen and what that person was talking about. I remember the point of each of those phrases and smile at the memories and also what they mean. The gift of preaching seems to be rare (or maybe just misused), but those who have it, know the audience and know how to communicate are brilliant.
    University is no better – as long as you have a degree you can lecture, whether or not you are any good at speaking in public, communicating your ideas or engaging with students. We have some fantastic lecturers who are passionate and really understand their subject, and some who are useless because even they don’t seem to understand what they are saying (and then there’s the unfortunate souls who are great lecturers but end up teaching biochemisty which they hate – so it never comes across well).
    Maybe it is a skill that can be learned, honed and polished, maybe it is a gift. I don’t know. If it is a skill then people need the chance to develop, but that takes practice, evaluation and honest feedback. I doubt many preachers get that. If it is a gift, then churches need to pray and be open to the answer to those prayers.
    The pants thing about being a student – by the end of a week of lectures we’re all powerpointed out and don’t want to see another slide!!!

  4. Can I make a plea for the old fashioned technique of Story telling – Bring back the Bard! I gues my “preaching” is based more these days on a narrative rather than systematic theology – perhaps if you have to use visual aids to help people remember then what you are saying is just not connecting? Not saying I don’t use visuals but not these days in “sermons” more for reflections and meditations (though I do sometimes use objects and activities with kids)

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