Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Planning Ahead, feedback wanted...

I'm getting ready to map out the sermons for next year and for the first time in a while I'm really not sure what on earth God want's me to set up as a series (I think this because so much of my pastoral work for the congregation is being done apart from preaching [i.e. the restructuring seminars and individual discipling). So, as I've so often said, I need some help here. Let me give you some ideas that are banging around in my head and PLEASE give some feedback. There's three rules for feedback though:

  1. Ambigous sugguestions like, "something on prayer" really aren't helpful - when making a sugguestion be specific on what and why. So, "10 weeks on meditation would be nice" would be a good specific sugguestion, ok?
  2. Saying, "I'll like whatever you come up with" is right out. I mean, the pat on the back is ok I guess, but comments like that just toss it back on my lap and I've already said I need some help figuring out where to go.
  3. Comments to the effect of, "Why do you need to plan ahead, why don't you let God lead you?" will earn the offending party a metaphorical whack with the wiffle-ball bat. Planning ahead is what gives me the freedom to be lead by the Spirit (otherwise I'd always be freaking out if something came up outside the normal routine, like, "I'm sorry but I can't teach you about spiritual disciplines I've got sermons to write....")

Sill with me? Great! Here's some ideas bouncing around in my head:

  • "Around The Story in 80 Sundays" - not really 80 Sundays, this would examine the Christian story as found in the Bible as framed by either the Apostle's or Nicene Creed.
  • "Kingdom Dreams" - from CrossPoint, resurrect this series for the general Church (including the "prologue portion covering genesis 1 - 11). It covers the promise of the Kingdom through the story of the Bible to the end of the Gospel.
  • "Kingdom Living" - again, from CrossPoint - this covers how the promise of the Kingdom got worked out in the Church from Acts to Revelation (and, therefor, to our current day). This would be a good follow-up to the above.
  • "A Mission-Structured Life" - This idea is already going to form the basis of the Student Chaplain Retreat in January (by the way they really want to come back, nicely done everyone). You can read my first thoughts on the idea here:
  • http://wezlo.blogspot.com/2007/07/theological-musings.html
  • "What's Time Got To Do With It?" - This follows the Christian story through the use of the Liturgical Calendar. I'm already planning a discipleship curriculum based on this concept - the sermon series could follow a lectionary, or my own mish-mash (both would be OK).
  • "Mystics 'R Us" - a look at Worship, The Church, and Christian living (really, all the same thing) from the perspective that discipleship springs from what's commonly called a "mystical union" between the Triune God and his Church.
  • "The Politics of Jesus" - we could take some weeks to look over Jesus' statement that would have had political implications in his day and age ("Give unto Caesar" type stuff). It's an election year, that might be interesting...

Only a couple of these would span the year (and even then only in sections). Gimme some thoughts on what you are sensing God wanting to tell the congregation...

5 comments:

CoderForChrist said...

First off, since you're not my pastor, you don't have to worry about any brown-nosing from here. ;-) So that said...

I'd be all up on the Church Calendar deal. One question, though: if you do work through the Calendar, what are you going to do about feasts that don't fall on Sunday?

Quick story: I remember being in church for vespers on Theophany (Christ's Baptism), and, listening to the hymns that were being sung (especially regarding the revelation of the Trinity), I suddenly realized that this event was huge.

Anyway, I dunno if this quite fits in anywhere or anything, but back in my old SBC church, I was talking with a couple Sunday school teachers about their idea of starting an evening class to teach potential leaders about the essentials of the faith, etc. (because they were somewhat distressed at the fact that there seemed to be no real theological qualifications for Sunday school teachers). So, I suggested the idea of using the Nicene Creed as the outline of the class.

I'm not sure how your church would react to you preaching from the Creed instead of the Bible, of course. ;-) And you'd probably have to do quite a bit of explaining as to why terms like "consubstantial" are important (considering I've known Baptists to say, "Why does it matter to have a 'right' understanding of the Trinity? It's not like it affects the way we worship or behave or anything").

wezlo said...

...what are you going to do about feasts that don't fall on Sunday?

Ideally? Have worship on those days in some way/shape/form. In reality, probably combine them with the nearest Sunday like most Protestant Churches...

Quick story: I remember being in church for vespers on Theophany (Christ's Baptism), and, listening to the hymns that were being sung (especially regarding the revelation of the Trinity), I suddenly realized that this event was huge.

Yup, the baptism class I teach highlights the huge-ness of Jesus' baptism.

"Why does it matter to have a 'right' understanding of the Trinity? It's not like it affects the way we worship or behave or anything"

And this is why Protestantism has failed...BTW, I wouldn't be preaching from the Creed - I'd be preaching using the Creed as the filter through which we engage Scripture.

I did a similar series on hymns once, and another on the stained glass in our sanctuary - it "works."

Melanie said...

I sent you an email with some suggestions. (Sorry, the small comment box size was iritating and it seemed a better format.)

I did a similar series on hymns once...

When was this? I think I missed it and it sounds intriguing. I remember your series on the stained glass (though I wasn't around much) and found that to be very interesting also. And if you do a series on the calender something should be done on those days if possible (otherwise we are back to the old substitute things so we can stay complacent and uninterested)

Dr. Qohelet said...

Already sent this to you on an email, but I'm with Coder on the Church Calendar. However, I've got no problem mixing it up with one of your other ideas. E.g. mystics throughout the calendar year: from Zechariah for the first Advent to John on Patmos for the second? Hmmmm....

Regardless, with the calendar year behind you, you'll be able to teach most issues of theology in short measure.

wezlo said...

People seem to be attuned to the calendar as a back-drop. Which lectionary should I use? And which year?

Mel, I did the sermon series using hymns back when I was in college, I didn't know you then...The Stained Glass series was a lot of fun - though the Church wasn't really at a point where it could appreciate it....I almost wish I would've waited until now to do that one, but oh well...