Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Poets, Prophets & Preachers: Monday Night

What makes some sermons work and others don't?

In an exploration of this topic, Rob Bell suggested that sermons have an engine; sermons have an energy that come from somewhere. The preacher and the listeners are well served when the preacher understands what is energizing his message.

Four questions every preacher must ask:
Why are you saying this?
Why do we need to hear this?
Why should we care?
Why do I care?

And one more statement:
What's the spark, impulse, insight, twist, revelation, truth, picture, reality that has compelled you to say these things to these people at this time? And say it in 30 seconds.

As Rob Bell sees it, sermons can center around...
1) a Moment - a story or teaching that in itself has significant implications for our faith and life
2) a Movement - a progressive story or teaching that together has implications...
3) a Mystery - story or teaching that has multiple layers of meaning, depths to explore.
Understanding what kind of text(s) the sermon is centering on helps focus what is energizing the message.

When it comes to the architecture of the sermon, everything is related to everything else in the message. Whatever the different parts of the sermon are, be able to name those parts, really know the parts, be aware of the potential of the parts, feel the parts, and step outside the parts. Intentionally arrange the parts in a purposeful way.

What are the parts?
(include but not limited too...)

When it comes to using these parts, know what you are dealing with, and how to effectively use them.
arc (how will it land?)

Be careful of openers that overwhelm.

There are no rules other than knowing what you are doing. You can do it any way you want, just make sure it works, it accomplishes what you as the preacher intend, and it does so in a way that is true to way of God.

A sermon creates a picture, a space, an image, an experience, an encounter, a world, a place that allows people to find themselves in it.

Within in a sermon, there is...
a focused preacher, yet an open one...
what is said, and yet unsaid...
definiteness and yet imagination...
resolution and yet unresolvedness...

Last: know your audience...know who is listening...the diversity, the differences. Help individuals take their next step forward - wherever they are in their walk with Jesus.

The technical aspect of this conference has been helpful. A lot of it is review - but in my case it is much needed review. It's also helpful to get the basics from another point of view - which would be Rob's speciality. He has a unique preaching style that connects with many...and like any preacher does not connect with many. There is no preacher that I want to imitate, but there are many that I admire and have learned from, or are continuing to learn from.

Who are preachers that you have really respected as communicators?
Dennis Miller was the first preacher to really inspire me as a preacher.
Robert Smith Jr. is an amazing orator and with a deep pastoral heart in his communication.
Richard Allen Farmer is a master crafter of words.
Andy Stanley is brilliant when it comes to moving the message along while touching almost everybody in the audience.
Rob Bell has a fascinating way of opening up the Scripture, prodding every deeper thinking all the while pointing to concrete actions.
John Ortberg has a slow and steady way of speaking that builds potent momentum until the message has lodged itself in the heart

1 comment:

Adam Moore said...

Just wanted to let you know I added you to the list of people blogging about PPP. You can check out the list here:


Let me know if you know of anyone I missed.