[Conclusion to the previous Valentine post is finally up…]

The Preacher’s Big Problem:

 

He’s “The Expert”

 

(Too many people think he knows more than he does…)

 

For more use the DOOR.

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In churches, especially nonliturgical¹, protestant churches, there’s a single preacher, or a “head” preacher if there’s more than one, who pretty much determines the sermonor lesson, each week often–on his² own–determining what Scriptures will be selected and read, and what to say about them.

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Or to say from the pulpit whatever else seems important to him. At least 50 (maybe 40) times a year.

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If he does his job well, he has to be many things to many people. Of course, with sermons rarely does “one size fit all.”

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This is a scary responsibility.  Some people will put a lot of stock in what he says.

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But no matter how educated, how well-read, how clever, or how entertaining  he is, he’s going to make mistakes–and say some things that are just plain wrong. (And later sometimes–and sometimes not–he will recognize this and regret it.)

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Because of this reality, let me suggest that a minister offer this (one-size-fits-all) prayer publicly before “performing” each week:

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“O God, may whatever I say

that’s true and important be remembered;

that’s false or misleading be quickly forgotten;

and that’s trivial or minor do no harm.

Amen.”

 

 

And I pray the same for myself as I share these words.

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¹ In liturgical churches there are usually “props” or supports–sometimes very helpful–to lean upon, and the sermon, and “preacher’s words,” play a lesser role in the public service. And, of course, the major purpose in gathering is public worship, not “attending a lecture.” Still, for liturgical ministers the words here, I feel, still apply. To the more loosely structured congregations, usually Protestant, the responsibility on the shoulders of the pastor, or lead pastor, is staggering. Perhaps you should show the words here to your pastor (as you remind him that you care and are praying for him).

² Yes, some women preach. That’s not the issue of this post. The generic he (him, his) is used here for economy and clarity.