Monday, April 1, 2013

7 Characteristics of New Church Preaching

We're getting ready for Discovery Lab the first week of April. 
There will be six couples meeting with an
Wilson Parrish, Sherwood, OR
interview team at Camp Manatawny, Pennsylvania. As part of their preparation process we listen to a sermon they give somewhere as well as having them present a worship experience live.  As we listen to these sermons we grade them (yep, everything done publicly gets graded in one way or another). Here are the seven characteristics we listen for and grade on: 

1.     Confident and authoritative in presentation without superiority. The planter should exhibit his own commitment to faith and to the Savior who is at his faith’s core. The planter should show that he is convicted by the truths he preaches, that he is committed to living out this message in his own life, and that he is sensitive to (and honest about) the challenges that Christian faith makes to believers and non-believers.
a.     The presenter strikes me as being a committed follower of Jesus
b.     I believe he knows and understands people like me
c.     I feel like I can believe what this person has to say
2.     Combines careful study with positive application. The content of the sermon comes from God’s unchanging Word in Scripture. But the context in which that Word must be applied is always changing. The planter must demonstrate an awareness of the culture, the issues of the day, and the particulars of a given group of people.
a.     This sermon talked about issues or topics that I have wondered about
b.     I came away with a clear idea of how this truth relates to my daily life
c.     I have a better idea of what God expects of me
d.   In response, I intend to change something in my beliefs or behaviors
3.    Raises conscious awareness of the divine within hearers. The result of presenting the powerful gospel should be changed lives (Romans 1:16). Longtime believers should feel energized for service and bolstered in their hope and joy. Seekers should feel passionately called to believe in Jesus as Lord. Non-believers should feel the wistful tug of belief and a growing desire to explore further the gospel message of life.
a.     My understanding of God/Christ has increased
b.     My awe of God/Christ has increased
c.     My commitment to learn more about God/Christ has increased
d.     This sermon gave me hope
4.     Attractive/winsome. The planter is the visible representative of the risen Lord and the word that he presents. The planter’s persona, how he presents himself, is critical. He should demonstrate a personal magnetism, be seen as a person others enjoy being with, and present himself and the message with authentic humility.
a.     I enjoyed hearing this person present this lesson
b.     This is a person I would be comfortable introducing to my friends
c.     I want to hear this person again
5.     Dynamic. The planter should present himself and the message with energy and passion. In our post-modern context the right to be heard must be earned at every presentation; it is no longer an inherent right because of role or status. The planter should create a desire in people to listen to what he has to say.
a.     The presenter engaged me with this message quickly
b.     I would love to have had my unchurched friends hear this sermon
c.     The presenter challenged or convicted me through this sermon
6.     Preparation. The sermon should show evidence of forethought, planning, and purpose in both content and presentation. In the new church context the planter is the spiritual guide and leader. The sermon should demonstrate his personal journey with the text--its content, meaning, and its application--in such a way that the audience leaves knowing they could take that journey too.
a.     The teaching was clearly based upon the Bible
b.     Illustrative material clarified key principles
c.     I now have a better idea of what God offers me
7.     Awareness of unbelief in audience. The planter should show awareness that people with no church background, or at various stages of coming to belief, could be in the audience. He does this by orienting people to the text (not just assuming they know a story, a person, or an event), helping them know where to find it (often be giving a page number in provided Bibles), using language that is accessible to those with little biblical exposure, and speaking to both believers and non-believers.
a.     I sense the speaker really cares about the audience
b.     I understood all the terms that were used
c.     Someone new to the church would have understood the vocabulary and context for the sermon

No comments: