I have been pondering which Scripture passage to use for some practical work at the upcoming conference. I plan to give each person a copy of the text from my NIV Study Bible so that they see not only the passage but some basic commentary underneath. Various choices have come to mind.
I have decided to use Ephesians 4: 1-16. Titled: Unity in the Body of Christ, I know this will be well-known (which will be an advantage). Since I shall be speaking about the task of preaching/leading, this key passage on the purpose of the church seems highly appropriate. Each pastor will be given opportunity to work on the exegesis and interpretation of this passage and I am planning to give a twist to the exercise. At the end of the morning session I shall preach a (short) sermon on part of this text. But, in the afternoon session I shall invite the conference to critique this sermon on the basis of its preaching/leading qualities.
I know this is a risk! When she heard my idea, Carol was disturbed: "Are you going to preach deliberately poorly in the morning so that there's plenty to discuss later?" No, I don 't intend doing that! That does seem perverse and artificial. But I shall leave certain things unsaid and see whether the conference identifes them. And yes, I am prepared for all sorts of critique I had not anticipated! Thanks for your prayers....and I will let you know what happens.