Ok—I need your help.
I’ve got some questions that I’d like some completely honest (and completely anonymous) answers to. I’m wondering about the process of preaching—particularly in terms of sermon composition—both from the clergy and the lay perspective. As a result, I’m going to put up a couple of informal, unscientific polls in order to get a sense of where things are for the clergy and the laity in the audience.
Like I said, this is completely anonymous. please don’t try to second-guess the questions, just lay it out there. I’d love some follow-up comments as well if you’ve got them or want to clarify an answer or add a more precise one. Again—be as public or as anonymous as you want to be.
If you’re wondering what this is for, it’s more coming out of my own curiosity as much as anything else. Folks who’ve been around for a while know my background–for those who haven’t hitting a few biography points may be helpful. I have a Ph.D. in New Testament but my main interest in the field is how the New Testament gets applied congregationally, particularly in preaching and the liturgy. Homiletics (the upscale term for preaching) was my outside area (secondary specialty) in my Ph.D. I served a Lutheran congregation for a year as a pastoral intern and preached at least twice a month, often more, and did supply work before my move to the Episcopal Church. So I know what it’s like to write a sermon in the midst of a busy clergy schedule. I’ve also been a clergy spouse for 6+ years; I’ve seen my wife juggle sermon-writing with all of her other duties. I’ve taught 6 semesters of preaching n seminary in addition to my academic work so I know what’s taught and what pitfalls preaching teachers are trying to help their students avoid. I’ve also sat in congregations for 30+ years as a regular pew-warmer and listened to (and analyzed and judged) sermons from that perspective. All in all, I think I have a pretty well-rounded experience around the process. So—I know what I did when I preached; I know what my wife does when she preaches. What do you do? Or what do you want to hear?
(I’d also appreciate links to this post so I can get a wider set of responses!)
Please be honest—this is for posterity… :-)
For the Clergy…
For the Laity…