Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Different Sort of Rhythm

It has been a while since I have been in the rhythm of preaching every week. In my first appointment in Austin, I started a Sunday night service and preached every week. But, in Corpus Christi, I preached less than half the time. There wasn't a whole lot of rhythm to that. Sometimes it was every other week, then maybe three weeks off, then maybe four weeks on, then back to every other week. The whole art of sermon writing is different when it is a sporadic thing. It becomes very, very different when you know that there is a message to deliver nearly every week. There is a certain flow of days and ideas and writing and editing. There is also a rhythm to collection of ideas and illustrations. When preaching weekly, I am constantly looking for sermon illustrations and other ways to connect to the material on the horizon. It reminds me of my days as an afternoon disc jockey, when I felt like I worked 24 hours a day because everything I saw, read, or experienced was potential show material. The VCR rolled during every tv show in case their was a clip I wanted. I took a notepad to movies and I read magazines with scissors.

All of a sudden, I find myself back in a rhythm, but with a fairly significant change. I now preach every week on Wednesday. I wouldn't think it would matter, but it is actually relevant that I preach on Wednesday evening, which technically means that I have Wednesday to prepare.

There is also a change in the rhythm because my preaching/teaching style has changed fairly significantly due to the nature of the service. As I wrote about in my last post, the main point of this service is a little different with focus on the question from our vision map, "What is the news about Jesus and what do I do about it?" So far, and I only have one week under my belt and one more on paper, the teachings are less existential and more educational. This may have a little to do with one more thing that changes the rhythm, the fact that the service is only thirty minutes long. It is my hope that connecting the teaching of the sermon with the questions of living scripture day to day will eventually happen in the post worship discussion. For the next four weeks, I am leading a small group on "University for Life" but after that, the service will be followed by small group breakouts to discuss some life questions based on the sermon. The questions for these breakouts are already being printed in the worship bulletins, so I can get in that rhythm.

I hope you will join me Wednesdays at 6:15 as I try and get my rhythm back. Your thoughts and comments on the service are always welcome!


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