Just reading Carey Nieuwhof’s blog on The Future of Preaching and Reaching the Unchurched.
One point brought me back to the most memorable preaching experience I ever had.
“3. Limited format. A sermon is a monologue and rarely more.”
I was visiting a small church in Northwestern Ontario (I think it was Upper Falls Baptist in Vermillion Bay). I was basically on a tour of BGC Canada churches across Canada, which meant this was not the first time I had preached this particular sermon. I got started into the message and asked my first (rhetorical) question, prepared to answer it myself and then continue. To my surprise a woman in the congregation spoke up with her answer! I was taken aback at first but then I realised that it was ok to do things differently. We continued the sermon in dialogue format with the various members of the congregation engaging with what I was saying. It was great!
Which brings us to another point Nieuwhof makes,
“Without intentionally doing this, most of us who preach self-censor what we say and do on Sundays. There is a silent but prevalent belief that certain things are ‘acceptable’ for a Sunday morning format and some things are not.”
Not every congregation appreciates the give and take nature of a dialogic sermon — for some it appears disrespectful. I wonder if it’s time to change this attitude?
What was your most memorable preaching experience? Have you even tried preaching in dialogue form rather than monologue?