Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Preaching Plans

The system at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne, (where d.v., I am to be the curate from July) is that the vicar and I will both preach series or topics of our own choice. I think the plan is that I should preach every couple of weeks. Our series will be interspersed with each others sermons.

I need to come up with passages and titles for the termcard a fair while in advance, which of course is something of a challenge without having done lots of preparation on the text before hand!

So what might I preach on?

I guess its good if the mainstay is sequential expositions through books of the Bible, trying to give the “melodic line” / main thrust of the books, with a balanced diet of different books (genres, Old and New Testament and so on).

I once preached a series of 8 on highlights from Mark’s gospel and I’d be tempted to re-visit it especially as Mark is used for Christianity Explored and we’re using Mark on camp this year, but the current curate has just preached a long series from Mark so I guess that’s out.

I’ve preached my way through the whole of Ephesians a couple of times too, and there are a great many more riches there I’d like to mine, but the vicar has been preaching his way through Ephesians!

I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do, so for my first few sermons I’ve decided to go for:

8th July AM – Colossians 1:28-99 – How To Pray For The New Curate, or, Apostolic Priorities for Ministry

29th July PM – Psalm 1 – An Invitation to The Good Life

5th August AM – Psalm 2 – Why Do The Nations Rage?

26th August PM – Psalm 3 – Salvation to Sing About

Maybe I might think of trying to climb mount Romans (which I studied a couple of times for Focus at St Ebbe’s). Or perhaps the whole of John’s gospel. Or I should have learned Hebrews here at Oak Hill last year.

I reckon we’re probably a bit too shy of long series. I think Zwingli started his ministry at Zurich with Matthew 1:1 and kept going through the New Testament till his death.

I’ll want to preach some Old Testament stuff too. I might re-visit a series of 8 I preached from Genesis 1-11. Or maybe some sermons (4?) from Jonah.

Maybe a couple of talks on the Bible, partly because of some tie in with the PhD: perhaps 2 Tim 3:16, ‘The Nature of the Bible’ and Psalm 19, ‘The Benefits of the Bible’.

I could plagiarise Matthew Mason’s sermons on the Lord’s Prayer that we listened to over a couple of Sundays.

Maybe a Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom / Vaughan Roberts, God’s Big Picture style Bible overview sometime.

I think we’ll need to pick something to do in home groups too. (I think Philippians is being studied at the moment).

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

It's hard, because it's all great, isn't it? The preaching I've most enjoyed has largely been OT stuff, my favourites being about 7 in Amos, and 4 on Song of Songs. I must say, I agree with you about long series. I guess variety is a good thing? I remember reading Doug Wilson saying he alternates OT and NT books, with a topical series in between.

So often I come away from a sermon, or a series thinking "I want another crack at that". For me, I think the secret is plenty of advance prep on the book before I even think of preparing a sermon on it.

It's great that you're able to pick your own series, rather than sharing a series - much more satisfying that way.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and feel free to plagiarise my stuff on the Lord's Prayer. I plagiarised bits of you on Ps 110 the other week - good stuff; thank you!

Gerv said...

"Our series will be interspersed with each others sermons."

Is that deliberately designed to confuse the congregation, or would that just be a side-effect? :-)

Marc Lloyd said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

Gerv, it would / will be interesting to find out if people find it really confusing. I guess they have the (compensating?) advantage of having a consistent approach from one preacher - and him speaking on something he wanted to talk about!

I think an ideal would be not to have to advance your sermons in advance so that you could preach a whole book in a week or a word a week or come back to the same section a couple of times etc. I wonder how many people actually avidly look up the passage or topis in advance and decide to come or not on that basis?

Neil J. said...

How about a series on Song of Songs (which I believe can be copied straight from St John's Tunbridge Wells website), followed by a series on Revelation, loosely based on the work of Marty Cowan - good balance of Old and New, and an introduction to interpretative maximalism?

ros said...

I was going to suggest Song of Songs, but I see I've been beaten to it.

I think the interspersed series might work rather well, giving people the chance to do some biblical theology on their own as they make links between the two series. Used to work for me in OH chapel, anyway.

Long series are fine, so long as you don't end up saying the same thing week after week. Unless you're preaching on Job in which case you should end up saying the same thing week after week, until you get near the end.

Anonymous said...

IN response to Neil's comment, let me add that I think we need to balance more straightforward books with trickier/less familiar stuff. As a congregation member, I suspect it's just discouraging to open a Bible week after week and think "Well, how did he make it say that?" On the other hand, it's a great blessing to take people to an "out of the way" part of Scripture, not least because it often adds themes/ways of saying things that we'd not encounter with more familiar territory. I remember Peter Adam saying we should preach on one "difficult" book a year, because if we never takcle them, neither will the congregation.


ros said...

Peter Adam read my paper on the words of institution. I know it's off topic, but I couldn't resist sharing my amazement when Lee emailed me a question he'd asked about one of the sources I used.

dave williams said...

I think a Goldsworthy/Roberts style big picture is needed for pretty much any introduction to an Old Testament series.

Marc Lloyd said...

Ros, hardly off topic - Mt mentioned his name! :)

Very glad to hear it. Amazing thing the interweb.

Any idea what he made of it?