06 February 2006

Emerging Preaching

As I continue to read from the authors/thinkers in the emerging church movement, I am challenged to rethink, reexamine, and re-learn what it means to be in ministry to a culture that is content with being at odds with (or at least unconcerned with) what God has to say about their lives.

One of the areas I am doing some research in is preaching. I have mentioned Doug Pagitt's work in Preaching Re-Imagined before but I offer up another quote for discussion. In his chapter on "centralized control" he makes the argument that preachers need to be willing to acknowledge that crafting sermons by themselves in their studies without influence from the church at large (the audience for said sermon) leads to one-way dialogue and rather generic, catch-all sermons that have little chance of impacting the members of the community in a personal way. He says this:

"Why would we call people to a personal connection with God and yet be content to give them generic, universal experiences with the message of faith?" (p 124)

His question, for me, strikes at the heart of the goal of preaching. If we are content to preach messages that touch on "issues" that "people" may be facing in their lives, are we really doing all we can to reach the "people" in our congregations? Or are we just doing what we need to to get by?

I ask this question because I have preached a generic sermon with a "universal...message of faith" in my church without blinking an eye. I did it because I was asked to preach and I did it because that was the model of preaching I was taught. However, there seems to be a great amount of credence to the practice of involving the members of the congregation in the creation of sermons. I mean, how better to speak directly into the lives, hearts, and minds of our people than to know what is going on in their life and giving them a chance to bounce ideas off of you?

I guess I am of the opinion that if my sermons are not deeply rooted in the character of the congregation they are presented to, then I am only a passing wind or a brief noise in a hearer's ear.

What do you think? Am I crazy? off-kilter? what?



natkat05 said...

Missing entries are definitely mysteries to be pondered but never fear, I did delete it when God intervened. I saw no need to speak of it when it was of no importance. But yes, Dean Libby, my father's family is related to William Penn! If life were fair, we would OWN Pennsylvania, haha.

natkat05 said...

Well yes, I can agree to your comment on my latest entry but I guess what I meant to ask was what experiences made me logical and clear-headed as opposed to short-tempered and irrational. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad my life experiences didn't make me like her before I came to Christ. But couldn't I very well have turned out similar to her? Not that I can ever know, but my ramblings boil down to the question of why did I get my life as opposed to hers? Why did she get to deal with her parents and all this drama of her deadbeat town while I have met some of the best people in Texas, found Christ at a fairly young age, and had so many chances to see alot of the world? Ok, I'm done.

natkat05 said...

Wow, I really stink at getting my thoughts across. I am SO grateful for my life and very fortunate to not have experienced the trials she has. But I am the type that wonders why she has to deal with it,and I don't. I have also wondered why I have not had many trials in my life and I believe in Christ, while she is complete opposite. Would she believe in God if her life was easier? I'm a thinker, Dean, so I know you can't give me the answers that would satisfy me. Nobody can but God, haha. Anyway, I didn't mean to put up that entry to get answers, only to provoke some thought.