Monday, June 1, 2009

The art of preaching if you are an Associate Pastor

It was my honor to preach yesterday at the 8:50, 9:00 and 1o:10 AM services.

When I pastored at FUMC-Hewitt, and before that at Godley UMC, I found it helpful to get into a study pattern where I was about 3 months ahead on sermon preparations.

If for no other reasons, it helped my relationship with my choir director, as they knew in advance the basic theme for the service, and could plan hymns and special music accordingly.

Joel Deichman was my choir director at Hewitt, and I loved working with him. He challenged me constantly to be prepared 3 months +, and promised I would like the results of doing so.

In all honesty, it took about 6 months to break a lot of bad habits, not to mention some personal pride and a penchant to procastinate. But yes, I did like the results.

As an associate, I will be invited to preach in worship about 3-4 times a year, alternating with Dr. Cindy Ryan. I think that Ken, Cindy and I make a very good preaching team.

The problem for me, is preparation. In two weeks, I will begin my 5th year here at FUMC-Grapevine. And, in four years, I have to admit that I have gotten a bit out of the habit of getting ready to preach.

My goal has always been to have the sermon finished by Thursday. Then, after being away from the sermon for Friday and Saturday, I would revisit it early on Sunday morning, make a few edits . . . and that would be it.

My sermon for yesterday . . . I finished it late Friday evening . . . and having walked away from it for an hour, I returned to it . . . and threw out pretty much the whole thing, and then easily rewrote in about 30 minutes the sermon I preached yesterday.

It has "finally" occurred to me, that I need a new "pattern" for writing sermons. That will be one of my projects this summer.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

1 comment:

The Thief said...

One of my big problems of preaching as an associate was that I was preaching weekly - usually on the same topic as the senior pastor - but only in the alternative service. Often our messages would be at odds with each other; I'd find information about the passage in my research and would include it, but he wasn't preparing much those days. So then when we preached, some points would contradict each other. Oops.

Then I was working with a senior pastor who didn't believe I could preach because he never heard me. So in that year, I only preached a couple of times. It was a lot harder to plan for preaching when I did it so infrequently.