Last night I visited the Risen Savior Assembly of God church in Chicago for the session on preaching (mentioned recently!) I was told that they had concerns about preaching and a group wanted to meet with me to learn more. What happened?
Well, their concerns were not about the importance of preaching to Jesus and his church. In an opening free-for-all they shared how their hestitations about preaching were to do with their feelings of unworthiness, of poor preparation, of not making sense and being irrelevant. One person spoke about the danger of manipulation and need to avoid it; another of the need for accountability. Here was a group of people (around 20 in number) who were hesitant for VERY GOOD REASONS. No one should rush into preaching as though it is not a high responsibility which needs humble gifting and hard work. I so warmed to their honesty and willingness to learn.
We then went into group work on a text I gave them: 1 Peter 2: 9-12. Of course, the one and a half hour session was always going to be too short. But immediately everyone got down to working with their neighbors which resulted in some amazing open sharing. Previously, I had been studying this passage because I want to use it at a conference shortly. Yet, I learned so much from this lively, honest, committed group. Really! I think they now plan to work in preaching teams to enrich the whole fellowship. Their pastor took an active part and encouraged this vision at the end.
I drove home late last night so grateful to have met with another group committed to work at preaching. I had this thought - how wonderful it would be if many other churches began to think and work this way! Do you agree?