What I Do and Why
Why are there so many boring preacher jokes? It’s a travesty.
Think about it. Preachers are about the business of forming the theological mind and heart of a congregation. When we do that, the people in our congregation come to a deeper knowledge of God and we then see their lives transformed and sustained by the creative love of God. It’s that important.
Are you a good preacher? Have you seen evidence that the lives of the people in your congregation are being transformed and sustained by the love of God? You have your answer.
We all want to be good preachers; truth be told, I think most of us can be. Really, most of us can preach in a way that forms the theological mind and heart of a congregation. Experience has taught me that there are usually two things standing in our way:
- First, (and this is almost universal), we need to attend to the form of our sermons so that what we say doesn’t, as Jana Childers says, “Dribble off the front of the pulpit and ooze on down the center aisle.”
- Second, we are so busy that we don’t take the time to open up the space within and go deep enough to find something important to say. We preach what’s on the surface rather than reaching to answer the question lying beneath. Think about it. You know it’s true.
I can help you with both of those, and I’d like the opportunity to do so. It matters to me that the pulpit is revered as a place to discover the love of God that animates the universe.
I’m glad to hold coaching conversations either in person, on Zoom or Skype. For more information, please contact [email protected]
How I Work
Step One: How We Start: It begins with a free consultation. This is your chance to see how I work. Generally I ask you to send me 2 sermons – text, audio, video, whatever you have. When we first meet then I’ll go over the sermons and talk to you about how I think I could help your preaching improve. At that point we can discuss a whole variety of options—schedule, length of program, whether you want congregational input in the process, and of course the core areas we’ll want to work on—nearly always Sermon Form and Developing the Message. But if you have other thoughts, I’m glad to listen.
When We Meet: We meet once weekly, usually on Thursday or Friday for an hour. We meet on Skype or Zoom—however you are most comfortable. It is best if I can have a written manuscript of a sermon on Thursday before you preach, but I’m a realist; that may not happen. It is certainly adequate to have a good outline of what you want to do.
What We Do: Each week we will look back on the sermon before, (it’s often good to have a volunteer video the sermon on their phone), and look ahead to the one coming. We look at what you’re doing with your second goal, (usually Developing a Message), as well.
Length of Program: I believe it takes 8 to 12 weeks to make significant progress. But there is no need to commit to anything that ambitious—particularly at first. That is why I offer options to study for four weeks, or even just one week at a time. The weeks need not be consecutive.
Full Disclosure: If you do a little research you’ll find out that I’m more than a little liberal. But I have no desire to convince you I’m right. This work is not about content; it is about communication. I’m just post-liberal enough to think that all of the perspectives along the theological spectrum have value in a variety of contexts, so I’m happy to work with people with whom I happen to disagree.