Ok, so here are the “blanks” we never got to during Sunday’s message — keep reading if you want a behind the scenes view on my preaching journey lately…
A Snapshot of the Church (Ephesians 4:1-16)
1. Authentic Living
2. Pursuing Unity
3. Leaders Equipping
4. Members Participating
5. Jesus Glorified
Lately, thanks (I think) to a few godly men in my life who called me to it, I’ve been experimenting with more “extemporaneous” preaching. What that means is you study, you immerse yourself in the text or topic you are teaching on Sunday. You think through stories from your life, ways to explain tough concepts. You read everything you can get your hands on and listen to whatever is appropriate. Then on Sunday, you get up and speak, often with an outline in your head and some rough concepts, but you let the Spirit lead and guide through your time. Now, let me be clear, I do believe the Spirit guides and leads when you prepare a manuscript or notes to teach from. And I also think some guys are wired to do this more than others and you need to find what works for you. But again, I had a few guys who I trust say, “Jason, when you step away from your notes, it really seems to come alive”. So for the Help Wanted series I “experimented” with this style and a number of people came up and affirmed that my friends are on to something.
There are some benefits to this: it does allow me to “customize” more freely based on the needs of even a particular hour/ service (although to be fair, there are usually very minor differences – more on what gets emphasized). It also removes the barrier of a podium or teaching stand and allows me to engage more freely with our community. It also seems to bring more passion out of me – when we allow a text or topic to become driven into our hearts, the communication comes across passionately and “from the heart”. This is always a good thing.
On to the disadvantages: well, for one, my wording can be a little more “clunky”. When I write manuscripts, I spend time crafting the phrasing and carefully wording what I believe God has for us. This is much more challenging when you’re more extemporaneous. Second disadvantage: things can change. I’ve noticed in the last 3 weeks I’ve had to make changes to the notes. One week I started with the second point and then went back to the first point, one week I did the points backwards from 3 to 1 and this week I went completely apart from the “blanks” because when I ran through the message on Saturday, I found the “points” to be a hindrance to communication. So for the office, the printed notes and powerpoint presentation things can get mixed up or changed more on the fly. Thirdly, I can sometimes those my train of thought, leave out something good I had planned to say or said during another service.
So weighing advantages and disadvantages and knowing who I am and how I’m wired, I figure we’ll keep trying it. The experiment continues. I have enjoyed “dwelling” in Scripture and seeing how God works through the message time on Sunday. This “style” seems to fit more who I am and how I’m wired, so we’ll keep progressing this way and see what happens.
This is probably a lot more information than you’d like to have, but hey you kept reading didn’t you? ha