I have been thinking about dramatically thinning out my preaching archives. In my first church in Blackburn I preached solidly (is that the right word?) for seven years - which means about 600 sermons. Preaching in my second church in Cambridge was mostly in a team with my associate ministers but I still reckon it's about another 1000 sermons. While I was at Spurgeon's College and in the US I preached many more.....at least another 500. Good grief! The bulging box files confront me whenever I go into my study.
I remember a friend whose father was a very effective preacher asking me what he should do with the piles of his late father's sermons, all written in a meticulous hand. Works of art, with underlining in different colours. Sadly, there is no positive way of describing the inevitable garbage disposal! Apart from the greats in Christian history whose sermons are recorded, our preaching is necessarily for a time and a season. If the Spirit brought it alive it was back then.
But, with the advantage/indulgence of my blog I am wondering if I can look back and see if there are elements worth capturing. I am calling them 'gleanings' because that refers to ideas etc. that are not acquired as a whole but are gathered or collected from different sources - in this case from sermons preached from 1972 until the present. My biggest problem will be selecting gleanings and not losing myself in nostalgic memories. Since each one took 8-10 hours to prepare (sometimes longer/shorter!) I invested a vast amount of time through the years. Maybe 21,000 hours, 875 days? Of course my files of conference addresses, talks, lectures, speeches add extra groaning boxes. Groans..yes!
My criteria for selection will (try) to edit items that are devotionally challenging stories, anecdotes and quotes. Sometimes illustrative of stages of my ministry who knows what I might find. I shall experiment for say 10 posts and then pause to reflect. As soon as it becomes boring with numbers of readers dropping off I shall cease. That's a promise.