Interesting preaching experiences this weekend. I preached the keynote at the Saturday night rally of our National Conference. And also as part of a pastor swap at Shore Grace Wesleyan on Sunday morning.
It turned out to be a very different experience from what happens in the local church "home town" week to week. Here's some of the differences I noted:
- People are more appreciative beyond the local setting - I think its that they realise you don't have to be there so they acknowledge the effort - especially so at Shore Grace
- Because people don't know you, you retain the element of surprise - that was clearly the case at both venues - the more unique parts of me were more unique!
- People don't know your stories - so its a part of the previous point - moments of personal authenticity seem to carry a little more weight - people thanking you for that - not so at the local church!
- On the other hand, some people don't get you! I guess because they're not as used to the rhythm of your preaching, they miss some of the nuances
- Sometimes its harder to be all things to all people - in my local setting people come to the church because at a bare minimum they tolerate me - if they don't they won't stay which is of course their prerogative - at the Conference I was told by someone that "you delivered that very well" which I took to mean my content was not as appreciated as my delivery. I don't think I am being over sensitive here - this person weighs their comments carefully :) Simply to say, its harder to hit that kind of crowd (not that I was aiming at this person :))
- Responsiveness is so dependent on environment - maybe this is not the way it should be or may be I get in the way of people responding to God, but the dynamics of response were interesting in their differences
Anyways, I'm still processing - but it was an encouraging experience.
And I'm still buzzing from an A+ on my preaching assignment from the legendary Paul Windsor. And his comment on one phrase "flippin' brilliant"! I am going to get a T-shirt made. Actually I was glad of the encouragement as I was nervous about the National Conference opportunity - I feel a bit out of place at that level.
Anyways, some rambling thoughts I'm still processing.