Additional Topics, Orientation to Pastoral Work, Class #3 of 5: Session 3 – September: S … R Preaching and Reading

ORIENTATION TO PASTORAL WORK, Session 3 – September 15, 2019
Methodology: Monroe’s Mountain – A Process for Exegesis and Sermon Preparation

S – What does God desire in my preaching this week? In my teaching?
R – What am I reading in order to support my ministry, preaching and teaching?

2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired* by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (*breathed out by God ESV)

If a scripture text is “profitable” …
– it addresses a human problem or need
– provides a divine solution that will help people.
The Monroe’s Mountain exegesis process utilizes these two distinctions.

Filing sermons:

  • File sermons by the primary text. If it’s worth preaching, it’s worth “wasting” a file folder on it.
  • Include all sermon materials in the folder – a worship bulletin, any notes you made in preparation, your manuscript and/or outline, any photocopies you made from books you own, anything printed off the internet, jokes or stories that relate, etc. If it is a good text, you’ll be preaching on it again.
  • If you are reading the bible or studying, and your study results in a piece of paper … Create a folder with the name of that book of the Bible and drop any notes into it in order of chapter and verse.
  • Keep notes with the Monroe Mountain format – imagine a page with three columns:
    The left column is to list the human need or problem.
    The middle column is to list questions and information about the sermon text.
    The right column is for the divine solution, visualize it, and what to do to make it happen.
  • Save computer files with the following template:
    Bible passage that is the primary text + Date and place preached + Sermon Title
    = Matthew 25 14 30 Date 09 15 19 KWUMC Are you using your talent.docx
    = Matthew 25 14 30 Date 09 15 19 KWUMC Are you using your talent.pptx
  • If you abbreviate books of the bible, use consistent abbreviations – Matthew, Matt or Mt
  • Put a zero in front of single-digit numbers … folder sorting will better keep them in order

In your reading …
– Write in your books – develop your own list of symbols to mark in the margins.
– Use yellow highlighters … if you photocopy a page, the highlight doesn=t show.
– Make a mark in the top right-hand corner of the page- you can quickly flip through a book to find it.
– If you plan to use a quote in a paper, make a note of it in the front pages of a book, with the page #.
– Or write your idea on a post-it note and put it in the book sticking out of the top edge.

If you read on a Kindle … or read your Bible on a Kindle …
– Remember that you can copy/share up to 10% of a book or more to a document, Evernote, etc.
– Color code your reading:
Yellow is for Interesting
Pink is for a human need or problem, anything negative.
Blue is for a solution, advice or a positive principle.
Orange indicates priority of purpose – you intend to use this someday – easier to find.

ORIENTATION TO PASTORAL WORK, Session 3 – September 15, 2019
Application: Common Sense about Worship SR: Sermons … Reading

The Good Samaritan Pastor on Sunday Morning: Last Sunday, you preached on the Good Samaritan. This Sunday, on your drive to church, you notice a man collapsed on the sidewalk and decide that it’s your holy duty to transport him to the Emergency Room. What would happen when you don’t show up at your church?

PAYING THE RENT: What specifically does your congregation expect in their worship?

  1. What decisions ABOUT WORSHIP are made by the pastor, shared, or delegated to a layperson?
    Pastor as Gourmet Chef Principle: What causes a restaurant to be busy?
    Micromanagement increases anxiety. Control creates conflict.
  2. What tasks are done IN WORSHIP by the pastor, shared, or delegated to a layperson?
    How are you allowing people to share their gifts in worship?
    1 Cor 14:26 What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
    Oikodomeo = (1) edify/energize and (2) build up = connectional.
    “Differentiation while remaining in touch” – Differentiation decreases congregational anxiety.
  3. Turn every I into a We. While worship has activities that the pastor does, it is a participation in the body of Christ. Worship is something that we do together. We are more than the audience.
    Gee whiz show biz worship attracts consumers and fans rather than workers and followers. Team worship where everyone uses their gifts builds up better Christians who are more excited.
  4. Center for Parish Development Church Growth Principle: the essential characteristic of a growing church is that the laity are excited about what is happening in their church.
    Is what you are doing in worship exciting the laity? If so, worship attendance will grow.
  5. What does it mean to be reliable & trustworthy? What does your congregation request of you?
    – Routines, Customs and Traditions IN WORSHIP – the Comfort Zone.
    – How are you doing with your congregation=s routines, customs and traditions?
    – All systems prefer a steady homeostasis, known as the comfort zone.
  6. The most certain way to kill any living thing is to try to change it. “Changer, Danger.”
    Jerry Coker Jazz Improvisation Principle – Predictability: <50% = boring, >50% confusion, discomfort
    Who are you trying to please in worship?
    Who do you think you are?
    On what basis is your judgment of the quality of worship?
  7. What does your congregation expect from a sermon?
    What is a “good” sermon?
    How long?
    How biblical?
    How much “storyteller”?
    How much drama?
    How much confrontation?
    What does God expect from a sermon?
  8. How long, O Lord?
    Attention span in 2000 = 12 seconds. 2015 = 9.5 seconds (goldfish).
    Pictures help. Transitions help. Stories help. Emotions help.
    Lectures and parroting information off the internet hurts.
    (My habit: 25-30 minutes. My goal: 15 minutes.)
  9. Sermons as prescriptions for a better life … Matthew 7:20-29
    – Exegetical vs Topical … creates topical boundaries which decrease the work. When is a topical sermon ever truly complete? Focusing on the text avoids landmines, conflicts and personalities.
    – Series vs. Lectionary – 156 box pharmacy on three year repetition … can you wait that long? (Read the lectionary for devotional purposes, and uses texts that speak to you.)
    – Write each weeks sermon as a part of a series … some of the ideas that you discover this week are for later messages.
    – Milk vs. Meat – 1 Corinthians 3:1 3 – Save hard topics for small groups where questions can be asked, a discussion can happen and topics can be explored at length.

Your suggestions and questions will help improve the class and are welcome in the comment section below.

These blog posts attempt to provide a practical, helpful orientation to pastoral work in the Kaskaskia River District, Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist church for persons beginning their ministry, particularly laypersons supplying smaller churches. Like all free advice, they are intended to begin a conversation, should be prayed over carefully and thoughtfully applied after thinking them through.

To read the next post in this series, click on the link to the right and above the title of this post.

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