The Evolution of Preaching and Worship
Today I’ve already experienced 4 sermons! Three by very young preaching students, one by someone closer to my age. I see great energy and optimism for the preaching challenge. In several, I sense a deep passion and calling to proclaim the good news.
But in many I also sense that preaching as a monologue seems an inadequate model for our times. Some feel it has been reduced by the renewed emphasis on worship renewal. There’s hardly room for the solo sermon in the worship plan. With biblical literacy at a low ebb and spiritual curiosity at a high, is it time to consider new models?
Many suggest preaching as a dialogue is needed. For some this is a Q/A time after church or prepared small group discussion questions. Twitter has been put forward as both a live interactive tool and a mode of getting the word out. One good friend wants iPads for all to interact with the service in real-time! Doug Pagitt challenges us to make space for other views to be presented by church people during the sermon time slot, soliciting input in advance.
Dan Kimball and others suggest moving the furniture and placing the preacher in the midst of the people, removing the top-down ethos. While some push for shorter sermons, Kimball pushes for more in-depth, deeply-felt messages.
The role of the sermon in worship is widely considered as well. Everything from seeing all other aspects as “preliminaries” to seeing a brief homily somewhere in the middle as secondary to gathering at the Table to conclude each gathering.
Models and questions abound, but clear-cut answers are few.
So…what say ye? What’s happening in your worship and preaching world? I’d love to hear from you. What should the present/near future of worship and preaching look like? Have you experimented? I’d also love to hear from laypersons, not just preachers. We all have a stake and a responsibility!