Tomorrow I am preaching at our monthly contemporary service. It’s a small and informal service, and I kind of love that about it. Usually preachers stand in a pulpit or on a platform and preach TO or AT an audience. There’s not a lot of give-and-take in your average sermon… Although, most preachers will tell you have the conversations they have after the service/during the week with congregants; and the best preachers will allow those conversations to come out in future sermons and to influence the direction of what they are preaching.
But in our OMEGA contemporary service, after I finish preaching, I sit down and I look at those who have gathered and I say to them: “So, what do you think?” And then we just chat, for whatever amount of time it takes.
Its’ a pretty cool and unusual experience for a preacher to get to have a conversation about what they are preaching. And I have to say that there is a richness to it. It is a beautiful thing to sit with the people of God and listen as we struggle to express our faith together. That happens sometimes in small groups, in Bible Studies and in workshops. But it doesn’t often happen in corporate worship…at least, not in the church where I serve.
I like to think of this as more akin to what Jesus did – having conversations with the 12 disciples and with individuals from the larger community who crossed his path. I love the relation-ality of what Jesus did in ministry. So often he is having a conversation at the dinner table with friends. Sometimes he’s teaching as he and his friends move (read: walk) from one ministry point to another. In the life of Jesus, conversation is a way of teaching, a way of preaching and it happens naturally.
So I am excited to get to preach the OMEGA service tomorrow. And if you have a moment and prayer to spare, pray that God uses me and my words to touch the hearts of those who have gathered.