I sound like I’m preaching a lot, I’m sure, but this morning I gave the sermon at Grabill Missionary Church. My job is more about administration and communication and training, but when our senior pastor is gone, I get to preach.
(“Get to” may sound bad. Take it in the best way. I love my boss’s preaching, in the “it has changed my life” kind of way.)
There are lots of different approaches to preaching, styles of preaching, attitudes about preaching. I was reminded again this morning that my best approach in the pulpit, as well as my best approach here, is to be a translator.
In the picture you can see the pile of books from my reading last night. I took none of those books with me onto the platform. There is a dictionary of Bible words. There is a commentary on the specific book of the Bible I was using. There is a systematic theology book there (taking concepts and explaining them as an organized system). There is a theology book that looks at the specific concept I was talking about. There are two Bibles.
When I walked onto the platform this morning, I didn’t take any of those books. I took some stories.
I looked at the books to make sure that the stories I was telling, the way I was telling the stories, was consistent with what the text says, was consistent with what scholars say. But for this audience on this morning with this speaker and with this particular subject, I didn’t need to read a bunch of commentators and Greek words and outlines. I needed to tell stories that would help us understand something not as a theological construct but as something that happened to and with and for real people.
As you are writing, as you are speaking, as you are representing an organization or a company, I offer this challenge: do your research carefully and thoughtfully. But then, rather than quoting all the quotes, tell a story for the people you are looking at. It’s scary for you. But maybe they don’t need experts. Maybe they need someone to translate truth into real life.
I can tell you what I was talking about if you ask me offline. I’ll even send you a link for the sermon. But I’ll leave that to you.
UPDATE: Okay. Here’s the link.