Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Seemingly Impossible Task of the Preacher

Monday morning after a particularly long weekend and still feeling tired after almost 11 hours of sleep (don't remember the last time I slept that long) is probably not the best time to read an article on preaching, especially with this introduction!  But it is encouraging to remember many others are in the same boat I am in.  You can see the whole article here.   David

Preaching well is hard work. We're expected to be witty, warm, and wise. And then next week, we have to do it again.
The great science fiction writer H. G. Wells reportedly said most people think only once or twice in a lifetime, whereas he had made an international reputation by thinking once or twice a year. Lots of pastors have to think once (or more) a week! More often than we would like to admit, we begin preparing a sermon with the feeling not that we have something to say, but that we have to say something. Only one time in twenty do I start my preparation feeling that this sermon will go well. The creative process is accompanied with a feeling of ambiguity, uncertainty, of trying to make the unknown known.
Like the homemaker whose goal of three nutritious meals a day is complicated by toddlers making messes, demands of a part-time job, overflowing baskets of laundry, and a phone that won't stop ringing, the multiple demands of pastoral life make fresh thinking and sermon writing even more difficult.
People never die at convenient times. The administrative load preoccupies pastors with scores of details that won't go away. Emotional weariness from dealing with people problems drains creative energies. And speaking several times weekly outstrips your capacity to assimilate truth fully into your life.
Just as savvy homemakers find resourceful ways to feed their families—a deft combination of ten-minute recipes, healthy snacks, a microwave special, and a few full-course evening feasts—pastors, too, can find ways to keep tasty and balanced spiritual meals on the table. ~Haddon Robinson

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