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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Challenge

Yesterday’s Church for Starving Artists blog really got me thinking (blogger Jan Edmiston often does!). She has a talent for asking the right question at the right time. This week’s question is about preaching. Does preaching get in the way of mission?

Wow! We often write about “mission” here at What’s the Good Word. Here and here, for a couple of examples. We think it’s what matters most. (D&C 164:9 f)

On the other hand, I also spend quite a lot of energy promoting good preaching, stronger reliance on scripture, an understanding of exegesis. We hold up one result of the Co-mission Pastor Initiative as “better preaching” and this has consistently been something the congregations of our CPI grads and participants both report and appreciate.

Now, this pastor I really respect is suggesting preaching might be getting in the way of what matters most? Her explanation bears exploring. I’ve often heard it said that we come to church to be “refueled.” We see Sunday morning as a kind of pit stop on the race track that is life. And a good sermon is a good way to spend the time; come in, sit down, rest a bit and listen to the Word.

The problem is in our attitude. (Isn’t that so often the way?) If we feel like we’re done now for another week, that being here and listening attentively, of having a spiritual thought or considering a scriptural question is all there is to it, then we’ve missed the point. If we walk out the door, thank the speaker for “a good message this morning” and leave refreshed to face our life for one more week, then that blogger is right!

Here’s what is supposed to happen, again from the blog:

“The proof is how our priorities change, how our activities shift, and how our commitments deepen in terms of how we are changing our communities for good. In other words, are we following Jesus more closely?”

If that’s what the sermon does for me as listener, than I’ve been moved for mission! How are you doing? How are the sermons you’re listening to helping? How are the sermons you’re preaching helping? Now there’s a challenge. Is “Mission” happening where you are because of the preaching, in spite of the preaching or is it happening at all? I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts.

Posted by Marion

3 comments:

  1. I'd say in our case our mission is moving ahead in spite of our preaching.

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  2. woooo hooooooo! great blog post!

    good preaching is a good thing but our community of christ is not, in my opinion, called to be an "arm chair sport"...

    we are called to make real, life changing transformation in the lives of those we encounter daily... perhaps there are times that our mission is hampered by preaching.

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  3. Thanks for commenting. Anon, I'm happy you feel you mission is "moving ahead"--that's a positive. Now could preaching be helping more? Or is it irrelevant?

    And john, I agree that "arm chair sport" doesn't get us very far. Do you think folks "watch" the preaching? even so-called "good" preaching and don't engage in mission in a genuine way?
    Just asking.

    Do we need to change our way of assessing what makes "good" preaching? Maybe it ought to make us uncomfortable, unsatisfied, motivated to change something in our own lives. Is that how we've been judging our preaching?

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