Abductive Columns

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Modern Day Preacher

I commiserate with the modern day preacher who straddles the edge of one age and watches the unfolding of another. It’s a time of tremendous cultural shaking.

In many churches this Sunday “preachers” will stand before an assembly and preach on a topic they gave their week, their blood and their sweat for. It’s what they were trained to do and in most cases it’s what they like to do. But sad for them—preaching isn’t what it used to be. All those homiletic techniques they slogged through while in school and practice Sunday after Sunday is slowly losing traction.

In the last five years we’ve seen the demise of the three point lecture. Who would have thought this time-tested gem would go the way of the cute acronym? Then there’s the bulleted list. People just don’t seem to like them anymore. Maybe it’s just other people’s list they object to. Now they want to make their own.

As if paid staffing issues aren’t enough, the “rules of cool” seemed to have morphed overnight. Just when you threw your overhead projector in the trash bin. Just when you shelled out what seemed like an obscene amount of money for that miniscule-lumens LCD projector the savvy pew sitter grew tired of bulleted outlines and PowerPoint notes. It’s not what they want—but they sure seem to like pictures. Just don’t expect to put up a nice blue sky, flowery stuff you can order in packages every six weeks. No, they want pictures of nature at its mysterious best. And anything mundane, missed, forgotten, even ugly. They also want to see all kinds of people. They want to hear stories they can relate to from the people they know and don’t know.

Normal. Messed up.
Extraordinary folks.

So hand over the microphone; the assembly wants a fresh retelling of the Grand Story in the context of real lives.

Yes, I commiserate with the modern day preacher. If it weren’t so downright refreshing, it’d be worth a cry.


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