Friday, June 15, 2012

Important but not that important (3)

Thanks to Leslie, a busy Methodist pastor, who commented (to my last post), that in his best experiences,  the weekly pastoral work does feed sermon preparation.  Rather than preaching being a 'set piece' occupying hours in a separate box it belongs within the hurly-burly of pastoral life though, as I wrote last time, the preacher does need some quiet time!

One further point arose in class discussion about preachers who so concentrate on preaching that they spend most of each week locked away in their offices.  This is a more difficult point and we were sensitive raising it.  Is it possible for average preachers to shelter behind the need to produce average sermons by spending vast numbers of hours, and then escape pastoral responsibilities of serving and loving their people?  Arguing that nothing is more important than preaching (Acts 6:2 is sometimes quoted), oodles of hours on sermon preparation are justified and...guess what.... pastoring is avoided!   Can it even be that sermon preparation is purposely elevated to escape the time-consuming difficult task of giving pastoral care? 

This opens up the whole issue of balancing pastoral priorities, doesn't it?  I really believe in preaching but it is part of a bigger package isn't it?


Caroline Baker said...

I discovered Michael's blog while preparing for an essay I'm about to write reflecting on my experience of preaching during the last module of my lay reader training. I went to St Andrew's Baptist church as a student in Cambridge back in the 80's and Michael married me and my husband Simon in 1988. His preaching then had a great impact on me,(hence the mention in my essay) and I've been reading back through the blogs and have found an absolute gold mine not just for this moment of essay writing, but for future application in my preaching. I am so glad your surgery was successful, and somewhat belatedly I will be praying for you and Carol.
Love Caroline Baker

Leslie Newton said...

And beyond the pastoral ministry is there not the task that I suspect needs to be re-emphasised amongst church leaders (definitely myself included!) - to the apostolic, evangelistic and prophetic ministry by which the wider world is impacted? Deeper engagement in these ministries will also feed our preaching?? And is so needed for the Church to fulfil its Commission?

Michael Quicke said...

Wonderful to hear from you Caroline - I wish you well as a lay reader and am delighted the blog helps. You can imagine how thrilled I was by the memories you stirred of our time at St. A's.

And,Leslie, again you are spot on! Our wider leadership responsibilities (Eph. 4: 11)are not only often(very sadly)neglected in the narrow focus of preparing for Sunday preaching, but they can lead to extraordinary nurturing of our preaching. Oh, to impact the wider world!

dss said...

It is readily apparent when your pastor values his time, not His time, spent preparing sermons above His time shepherding the flock. Love is what is lacking and it is clear to the flock. Sadly, it diminishes the church and harms the Lord's reputation.

As a layperson, I also realize it is easy to criticize without walking in the very difficult shoes of the pastor who can be judged by all.

Therefore, thankfully, whether the pastor stands is in the Lord's wise hands. So, our job as the congregation is to pray for our pastor and step into the shoes the Lord has for us to serve as our part of the body serving and loving the body and the world that God so loved.

Hopefully, your pastoral friend who is frustrated meeting all the needs has a supportive community of believers alongside him.