Let me just repeat that.

Many moons ago (well, it seems like it anyway) I agreed to do three pulpit supply dates in August. My thinking was that by the end of July my dissertation would be progressing well and things might be easing off a little. Aye right!

Now, one of those churches uses the lectionary and the other two don’t so that sets the agenda for at least one of the Sundays. All three churches are geographically diverse and so there is virtually no risk of ‘being followed’ from one to the other. So, given that it’s unlikely that the lectionary passage is going to crop up in the two other churches any Sunday soon, why not make life easier and use the same sermon and order of service for each church?

It’s probably what I’ll end up doing (with variations to allow for the different length of sermon anticipated at each), but part of me still thinks that it’s ‘cheating’. Mind you, a few years ago we were on holiday and happened to catch a visiting preacher in the church we went to. Soon afterwards we heard that same person in another church and, surprise! surprise! heard the same sermon.

Maybe I should look on it as way of reflecting on how the same text/message is received differently in different contexts. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to present the same text in different ways and so experience the richness to be found in scripture. The next question though is whether I start with the short sermon and pad it out or do the long one and trim it down.

Anyway, as I was saying…

5 responses to “Let me just repeat that.”

  1. Hmmm, yes, I was doing locum July and August and trying to write my 25-30 000 words – it was a case of very bad decision making, lol!!!!

  2. You would not be the first, and you certainly won’t be the last locum to reuse a service, either in whole or in part.
    It’s not cheating.  Consider it a form of recycling.

  3. I have used the same sermon twice – once in my home church while the worship group were leading worship and once in my first CFA placement. They are diverse congregations and I knew no one on the second performance would have heard it first time around. Also, it was just a week after my operation, so I wasn’t in a fit state to write another sermon.

    Besides, my minister told me shortly after this that a sermon has to be preached 30 (!) times to have effect…I think that was according to Calvin.

    Give yourself a break. Different congregations react to the same service in different ways. Good luck.

  4. They will probably change in the preaching, according to the reaction and the congregation. Someone once told me if a sermon is worth preaching once it’s worth preaching again. Happy service-taking.

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