7 Ways I screw up Sermons
-been thinking about preaching for 2 decades now. I had hoped to be better, but at least I have been consistent. These days my inner critic helps steer me away from making the same mistake in every sermon, but I am still learning how to be present in the midst of a message. Like many skills, preaching is a hard thing to learn well because you start by imitating other great preachers the best you can but you must also move to find your own voice. This is really hard. Only now do I feel like I am able to be myself and still speak with conviction. (People love unwavering conviction...) It takes lots of practice though. So here are the 7 sermons I try not to preach anymore; kind of a map between Scylla and Charbydis:
7 Sermons to move on from:
- The Cool Chat Talk. This is the how to live life, self-helpy stuff. Very "talky" with my bros. Finding moralism in innerlife management skills. skillz to pay billz
- A Punishing Exegetical Recitation. In the name of being “biblical” this passionately points out what everyone already knew in painful detail. Line by line for all 66 books, the more severe the conclusion and dismissal of people doing it wrong, the more authentic it is.
- A Theological Cow Trail. This one wanders lofty hills to make a theological point that should make a difference but, um, I forget. (Maybe a fill-in-the blank outline could help!) The 1000 verse citations are mosaic pieces largely unrelated to the picture being painted, but they are pretty.
- The Spirit-filled diaphragm. Devoid of a point or preparation, this sermon works very hard to get hyped as self-evidencing Spirit-filledness. Alternately yelly and whispery. Interestingly, despite losing sight of a destination, often runs too long.
- The Fine Essay. Better read then said. Look up already. Somebody is there and it isn’t your old professors. And stop saying “perichoresis”’
- The I'm Uncomfortable, So You're Uncomfortable, So Let Me Say a Few Things That May or May Not Apply So I Can Leave Now.. (TIUSYUSLMSAFTTMOMNASICLN, for short)
- The secret decoder ring. I am claiming my point comes directly from the text, but really I have a point to make and I guess I'll use this text because I have to. The point may be fine. The scripture is fine. They just haven’t met.