Sunday, April 29, 2007

Eating with leaders

BBQ with Reading CU leaders, and having preached on Titus 1 (mp3 quality is ropey for first 7 minutes but normal after that). My prayer is that they are and continue to be qualified leaders, people of godly character and gospel convictions.

After our church meeting ended and we went out into the Spring sunshine my friend Tony and I had a chat about two things. He challenged me to use more stories in my preaching. I think he's on to something. I feel a tension. I said about 1800 words in 24 minutes (recommended target 20mins.) More stories mean less of something else. I'm keen to do detailed explanation of the text. I included a fairly significant portion of direct application in this talk, and yet I'm left to wonder how much of the material really connected with those present. Some gave very positive feedback so I'm not beating myself up, nonetheless I'm keen to do this more effectively - not least because today's subject matter concerned how to encourage God's people with sounds doctrine and refute error...

My thesis was that God's Leaders have Godly Character and Gospel Convictions... which takes some explaining and arguing. God has given us the teaching propositionally, in a letter - albeit set in a very real context of church planting on Crete. Should I be satisfied to teach that material as I did? Would including more stories have conveyed the same content more effectively and engagingly? Would more illustration have allowed me to do less application because it would have been more obvious? Or, is God's word clear enough for me not to do that much translation - it's already in English and being explained? ...and I'm left asking did I really herald the glory of the gospel enough anyway? Does the form make that much difference?

I listen to a lot of sermons. I like to do it (which probably makes me both strange and a preacher). Which ones strike me most. Simon Pethick preached Nebuchadnezzar's testimony with great attention to it's form as a testimony in February. John Piper preached Paul's closing prayer in Romans as a prayer earlier this year. How do you preach a letter?

Tomorrow - preparing to teach the Sovereignty of God to the church... the only restrictions on me... I have three days to prepare, 75 minutes to do it with some advice to have around 20mins of 'talk', 25mins of group discussion and about 30mins of Q&A. Not a theoretical exercise. It's happening.