Monday, November 03, 2008

Prophet In the Home Town

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.


Frank said...

You did a great job at conference! You were articulate, the content was good and the story of the wonderful young lady with the tats "cut" in perfectly.

Response is always an interesting thing when people aren't trained to respond a certain way.

I'm glad it was you speaking. I was sitting there throughout conference thinking they need to hear this, this, this and that, and I wish I could tell them. I got to the end of it, watching Lupeti (a man I love), hearing some of his journey and reflected back on my thoughts wondering how I could have been such an arrogant S.O.B.

I love watching our national leadership and their humility. The right people were speaking.

Rhett said...

I've said this before, but Paul Windsor's compiments are gems which can keep you goin for a good while!

Obviously I'm coming at this from a biased angle, but in regards to responsivness, I really value the place of congregational worship. I think the more freedom and time people have to enter into that, the better. I think the worshipful atmosphere was there on Saturday night and we saw people responding.

Anonymous said...

You got one girl to stop giving you the evils and genuinely respect you & value your input in her life, so you must be doing something right :)

I don't think that we often stop to think about the preacher's need for feedback, to know they're doing well, and to show anything other than a deadpan expression during the delivery (maybe we have something to learn from the American's on that one!).

Sat night was good. (Good in the sense that God 'saw it was good', not good in the sense 'it was ok').

- one of the Fijian boys performing used to be a client of mine, I was buzzing seeing him two years on and doing so well. Took everything in me to keep my mouth shut and not break confidentiality!