This week a proposal is being submitted to the Lilly Grant Foundation in the USA from Northern Seminary. It bears the initials NKP. Like many visions it took weeks to take shape. Indeed, a few weeks ago it had no specific name though large bundles of possible content.
NKP stands for 'A New Kind of Preacher'. Note, not a new kind of preaching which might suggest a focus on the act of preaching -its technique and design - but on the person of the preacher.
Ever since I wrote Preaching as Worship I have believed passionately that the twenty-first century needs a new kind of preacher. In the recent past preachers have all too
often been lone rangers, who have tended to focus on individuals and operate by
delivering 'sermon packages', working with familiar preparation routines in
predictable ways, frequently separated from others planning gathered
worship. These ‘sermons in a box’ have
often been disconnected from God’s big picture for his church community and his
world mission. Much preaching has often
been viewed therefore as a separate free-standing segment of ministry under the
preacher’s control. Sadly, some
preachers feel this is a weekly burden by which their total effectiveness is
judged. A recent US survey has revealed
widespread disappointment among both preachers and hearers that so much preaching
seems to achieve so little. Unsurprisingly,
some preachers can feel defensive and anxious about their preaching.
NKP aims to nuture by forums, peer learning and fresh resources a new kind of preacher who sees this bigger picture and dares to open up their lives to its implications.
You can imagine my excitement about NKP because it will allow ideas in my last book to be fleshed out on a bigger scale in the metro-Chicago area with preachers of both genders with differing ethnicities, cultures,
contexts, and denominations. Well, after all the conference calls, prayer (oh yes) writing and editing we need to wait and see if the proposal is accepted. I shall be sure to let you know. And if it is, it means a busier five years ahead for me!