My Thoughts on Preaching

23 Jun

Actually, my thoughts on my preaching…
Actually, my observations on preaching…

So, I’ve spoken 2 out of the last 3 weeks at Crosswalk and I will be speaking 2 out of the next 3 weeks at Crosswalk. That equals 4 out of 6 weeks. So at the halfpoint this is what I’ve noticed:

Actually, the first thing I’ll say is that I am an insecure person. And anytime you throw yourself in front of 150-300 people and open yourself up it can be difficult. I’ve learned not to let my identity to be tangled up too much in my ability to speak. Jesus does not wait for me at home to embrace me if I have done well or punch me in the kidney’s if I have done bad.

One of the preachers tools is humor. Now I know that John Piper claims that he has never told a joke during a sermon and that to do so isn’t a good idea, that the “the preacher can not be clever and Christ be glorified.” While I can see a side of his argument I feel like his idea of preaching is a compartment and is something otherworldly while I feel that preaching is proclaiming Jesus in a tone that people can relate to. And with that in mind I feel as if any and every communication tool is available to the preacher.

And this is where the dilemma comes in of how to use this tool…the two Crosswalk services are dramatically different and I’m trying to navigate that difference as a speaker…

-The 9:30 service which is smaller in size is a much louder crowd. If I smile, they laugh. It’s a bit odd but it usually helps me to relax. The 11:00 service, while I assume they have had more sleep, is a bit comatose. I can’t put my finger on it why the two crowds respond so differently… BUT I feel like I’ve come to the conclusion that for the 11:00 I will drop the use of my “high risk” jokes. I define “high risk” jokes as things that you say and if people don’t laugh then everyone feels a bit awkward.

-I’ve learned that the topic that you are teaching on effects how responsive the crowd is. For instance I was speaking yesterday about Israelite slavery to Egypt, current day forms of slavery, our slavery to sin. These aren’t really funny topics on their own so the only type of humor you can really use is “high risk” humor. Again, this flies in the first service, not so much in the first. I’ll have to respect their differences.

-“Low humor” seems to always connect. “Low humor” at least how I define it are stories about ordinary things in life that just happen to be funny. In these cases people often laugh at the twist in the story. And if the 11:00 doesn’t laugh it is ok because the story carries itself and still teaches. And as a preacher I really want to develop this ability because stand up comedy isn’t going to change people’s lives, the good news of Jesus is.

-So for instance this week I am talking about how if we don’t understand the context that words come out of it can lead to a misunderstanding and how we treat the bible as a hermenuetically sealed book that just fell out of the sky. To communicate that I can look up some translation issues of how when an item in the English language when translated word for word in Chinese or German means something completely different. “High risk” humor that would work great in the 9:30 but not so sure about the 11:00. Instead, I will tell the story of my nephew Grant in the men’s restroom at the movie theater for the first time and how I had thought that his father had taken him in their plenty of times. This is a “low risk” humor that whether you laugh at it or not, the point will connect.


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