Aug 012010
 

This little stint of pulpit supply has offered me a more interesting reflective opportunity than I first thought it would. As previously mentioned, I’m ‘optimising my time’ by using the same service in three different places (albeit with some revision of hymns and sermon duration).

The first one was delivered today and I wasn’t entirely happy with it. Too long, to overstuffed with information and didn’t flow very well. The main issue was that I now have a very different theology to my home church and I felt I needed to explain and ‘justify’ some of what I was saying and proposing, so there was more padding than absolutely necessary. But such is the main pitfall of one-off services. I feel the need to cram too much in rather than just delivering something that’s to the point but ‘lightweight’ (in my opinion). Today’s sermon should really have been delivered over no fewer than four or five sermons. Which says (to me) that it was the wrong sermon for the occasion.

When I got home I decided to ‘polish it’ from the thoughts I had as I was preaching. It now flows better but is still too long (certainly for next week). But then next week’s pulpit supply is the lectionary-following place, so some of the background will already be there. Mind you, I still need to sort out their dodgy theology (not really, just poking fun – a little). It means that I need to whittle down the sermon and can probably remove some of the explanatory padding. It’ll be interesting to see how that one ends up and how much, if anything, is ‘lost’ because of that.

The third one will be similar to today, albeit with the more polished version. Again though, I’ll be curious to see how it changes in the two week gap.

One thing I did notice today was that my voice is out of condition, not having been used very much for a couple of months. Too much time spent typing and not enough time chatting with real people. Unfortunately, until the dissertation is done, I can’t do much about that. I’ll maybe need to put some music on and start singing along.

Jul 242010
 

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…

Sep 042009
 

Intrigued by the title, I followed a link in my WordPress dashboard to the article “How to write with a knife“. It is aimed primarily at bloggers but I couldn’t help but notice its applicability to sermon or reflection writing. I encourage you to read the article – in keeping with its teaching aims it’s short and to the point and will only take a minute of your time.

Now, to put it into practice.

Jan 202009
 

I’ve uploaded the short talk I used for my speech training session to the downloads page (and fixed the non-working downloads while there). It’s called ‘Confusion’ and is a slightly different take on John 4 and Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. It developed out of a passing thought as I was preparing for this Sunday.

Feb 072008
 

A while ago, whilst searching for video clips, I came across Worship House Media which is an excellent source for all sorts of useful downloads (keep an eye out for their occasional freebies). One of my favourites is ‘That’s My King’ a video set to the words of American preacher S.M. Lockridge. The sermon is a slightly truncated (and rearranged) version but, nonetheless, is still very powerful.

Well I happened across some other versions on YouTube, but one of the best (in my opinion) is available, for free, from 4-14.org.uk. It’s available in a variety of formats and qualities.

You can also download a transcript here Thats My King Transcript.

I’ve yet to come across a video that uses the entirety of the sermon, which is a shame because there isn’t a single word of it that deserves to be dropped. Mind you, there seems to be different variants of the mp3 file around the web as well. If I were a bit more creative (and had the time) I’d have a go myself, but if anyone comes across a good, full version, let me know.

It’s one of those sermons I listen to every now and again, just because I think it’s so wonderful. Why do I like it so much? Because it’s simple, to the point and focuses on who we, as Christians are supposed to focus on – Jesus Christ. Yet, for all its simplicity, it’s enormously challenging. Do we really proclaim Christ to be all of the things mentioned in the sermon? And when we don’t, simply because we’re imperfect beings, it’s good to know that there is one who is all of those things.