Recovering Wesleyan Preaching Essentials

 The United Methodist Portal.

I’m indebted to Shane Raynor for the above link. Although it’s aimed at United Methodist preachers, there’s something here for all Wesleyans, including Nazarenes. The author shares some of the history of early Methodist preaching, which revived nations and helped shape American pop culture.
Wesley was a scholar extraordinaire, but in the preaching moment he lit up like a Christmas tree and thousands gathered to watch him burn with holy passion.
Among the more interesting observations is that Wesleyan preaching was/should be more heart-to-heart than head-to-head. How it had/can have a decision or transforming experience as its goal. He also shares how Wesley & others might focus on a single phrase from Scripture, but bring it right into the daily experience of people.
This contrasts with the image many have had of Wesley and it’s worth reflecting on. The author also shares practical preaching insights from Henri Nouwen (not a Weleyan), which provide excellent ethical questions for preachers.
All of the points add up to greatly valuing the experience of the listener. Maybe our pulpits and furniture arrangements and bookshelves have shaped an academic, preacher-centered view that misses the mark in the pew-chairs: transformed lives. Can we reconsider our whole approach? Should we watch some video of ourselves to discover the dull patterns which need refreshing? If we’re going to keep preaching, why not invest our hearts and our bodies fully into those moments? What would it take to rekindle a fire in us people would want to experience for themselves?


Posted on March 3, 2011, in CotN, Spiritual Formation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Tim,
    I took a preaching class at NTS with Dr. Brad Estepp (now at KC 1st) and one of the texts we had to read was Robin Myers’ “With Ears to Hear: Preaching as Self-Persuasion.” The preacher is invited to hear Scripture and wrestle him/herself with being persuaded, like the congregation. Meyers reflects an approach that says the congregation isn’t passive, but actively involved in the sermon through listening. If we engage like the congregation, we can help shape the sermon to be something that stays with them long after it’s been delivered. And the point of preaching IS transformation. My hunch leans in the direction of Kennon Callahan in “Preaching Grace” that we don’t preach enough grace…which means we aren’t preaching enough good news, Gospel. Which means we aren’t giving people an opportunity to glimpse, or lean into the kingdom. I think that by missing out on these, we don’t give people handles, or the imagination to envision a different reality or “script” for life–one that offers hope, a lived forgiven-ness, and the promise of new way of being.

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