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Friday, July 06, 2007

A New Game: sharing


I am learning a fun new game: sharing. Sharing is difficult for senior pastors. We like to lead and decide and be in control. Nowhere is that more precious than in the arena of preaching. It's what I do. I love to preach and I'm not always sure quite how it all comes together in the mix of study, prayer, observation, exegesis, eisegesis, and creativity.
This coming year Montecito Covenant worship will be exploring the growth and devolpment of the church as a follow-up to the last two years of preaching through the big themes in the Old Testament and last year through the life of Jesus. It's time to look at the church. So I outlined a year of preaching through the book of Acts with supportive Epistles. Then I tried something new: I invited in some scholars in our church to examine, critique, comment and suggest how the series could be structured better. Each person brings profound skills: Philosophy, New Testament, and Theology. They shred my outlines with great ideas and comments, suggestions and provocative questions. They suggest authors and articles. Together we spun off into tangents crtiquing current evangelical culture and modern assumptions. The time together shoots by all too fast. And at the end of the discussion, they THANK me!? I try to thank them back, but they insist that this is great fun and an honor to contribute to the preaching direction in their local church.
Now the question I ask is; why did I not do this long ago? In each of the churches I have served I have had wise scholars as part of the congregation I barely tapped, except to sit on committees of one kind or another. These friends came so alive as we talked together, they we eager to agree for a next lunch to talk about worship progress. There was no fighting or bickering about turf or tradition, but just fun playing together!

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