Non-Excellence in Preaching
God knows I make an effort and put care into worship preparation. But my thoughts just haven't emerged as clearly and my writing hasn't progressed as coherently as in the past. I have only really loved two sermons I've given yet since September.
What's kind of ridiculous is that because of my doctoral work, I'm studying and thinking and writing more about ministry and religion than ever before. I am deeply into it. Maybe it's all up too close to my face and making me less organized in my thinking and preaching. Maybe the fruits of this labor have yet to emerge in my preacher's life. That's what I'm counting on.
Another factor: we made an adjustment to our Second Sunday liturgy that was supposed to provide an opportunity for a monthly lay homily, whose thoughts I would respond to in my own homily that week. This vision has proven much harder to fulfill than to create. I have found that it is very, very hard to recruit lay preachers, and that this service requires a lot more time and conversation than I had counted on.
There is a lot of change at church this year: a new Music Director, a new Student Minister, a new Director of Youth Programming, and new layleaders in key positions. Everything is going well and happily, but change is change. It takes a lot of psychic energy.
I am in class up to six hours a week, with travel time 45 minutes each way, at a minimum. This will go down to three hours once every two weeks next semester, with no big papers and exams.
I am re-working an old sermon for tomorrow morning. It was fine the way it was. I don't know why I started monkeying with it. Note to preachers: don't bother using old sermons. It's more work to edit and renew them than it would be to start with a blank sheet.
God give me the strength to get through this week. I have a paper due by Thursday, a take-home exam due the same day, and class on Tuesday and on Thursday morning. Also the sniffles.
Most Christmas shopping is done, thankya Jesus. Glad I did so much in August!
* Um, not that I'm great. I mean greatness in the relative PeaceBang scheme of things. But as you preachers out there know... sometimes what we think is terrific is awful for the congregation. Sometimes what we think didn't go well really worked on their hearts. It's a mystery, really. But we all do have our own internal standards, and should.