Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Principles for preaching- Mazes and Brick walls

I find writing sermons difficult, a struggle, hard work.
I think people underestimate how much work goes into a good sermon (and into some bad ones too!)
The problem is, people think writing a sermon is like building a brick wall. Surely a twenty minute sermon is just a matter of laying one 1 minute brick after another. How long can 2000 words take?

The reality ( for me at least) is that writing sermons is like finding your way through a maze. There are all sorts of exegetical and hermeneutical wrong turns, you may take one early and have to retrace your steps. And then as you try to go from text into the world of your hearers, there are all sorts of theological, pastoral and emotional blunders you can make.
But here is what makes it really stressful.
Until you have solved the puzzle, you are lost.
You have absolutely nothing. Just some wanderings.

And then once you do solve the maze, you waltz your congregation through and (if you've done your job) they think 'that was easy'.

Some pastors, I feel, give up on the maze. They stop trying to find the exit, and instead build interesting, even entertaining brick walls. So they don't understand why you would find preaching difficult either.

I don't think preachers are alone in this. It happens with all creative work.

5 comments:

Byron said...

How long can 100,000 words take?

Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Wellsy, you've perfectly articulated the creative struggle! Running the maze each week is full on!
Marty

Mike W said...

Your maze is a whole lot larger and scarier Byron.

Thanks Marty. I go about once every two weeks, so I ave it a bit easier

Mike Bull said...

Part of the problem is that people are not excited simply to hear about the Bible like they are in certain countries.

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