Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Now, what am I suppose to do?

My office is directly across the hall from the 4th-5th grades class of the church academy. There are two girls in the class who also attend our church. Both of these girls are affectionate so I often receive a hug when they see me. But today one of them also said this to me, “Pastor Doug, you did a good job on the sermon Sunday!” Needless to say, that comment made my day. But it also has gotten me a little unnerved.

I often get positive feedback on my sermons. I guess that is one of the reasons why I keep preaching every Sunday. I enjoy doing it and people seem to appreciate it most weeks. But this past Sunday’s message has received a significantly larger amount of compliments than normal. So why does this have me so shook up? Simply put, the message being complimented was not my normal style. Let me explain.

I am a very logic driven, analytical thinker. Therefore, most of my sermons are what I call a linear style. I try to engage the congregation at point A (usually something of human interest or that people can relate to) and move them through a sequence of steps to point B (the conclusion with a call for a decision). Another way of describing my typical sermon is that it is a journey with markers (or points) along the way.

Sunday’s message was far, far from this style. I consider this Sunday’s sermon’s style to be circular. The one main idea was stated very clearly at the beginning; namely, that we need to understand that Christ lives in us as believers. I then presented this truth via four vehicles: an object lesson, some brief teaching thoughts, reflecting on a poem, and the sacrament of communion.

Much of what I have been reading lately makes the case that this style of preaching is more effective in the post-modern culture we live in today. So how should I go about sermon development? Stick with a style that is my natural way of communicating or adapt to the times?

Any thoughts or feedback from both pastors and laity who read this blog would be appreciated! Pastors – what do you think of the different approaches to sermon development? Laity who have heard me preach before – do you think I have correctly identified my normal sermon style? Laity who heard last Sunday’s sermon – did you sense that this was a different type of sermon than the others I have preached at NGWC?

1 comment:

Ben said...

Pastor Doug,

Either style works for me. Other comments I have heard from other people in the congregation supports the thought that I'm not the only one who thinks so. So far, both have been effective and have held my attention (hard to do...adult ADD). If I had to choose, I guess I prefer the linear style. I like the "mystery" of wondering, "How's this all gonna tie together?" Anyway, like the other style too. Just a preference. Have a good'n.