Here are some recently posted resources that might bless your preaching ministry:
Preaching without notes: a new habit to transform your sermons by Jonathan Andersen (seedbed.com)
Preachers I respect come from all over the spectrum on this issue: some use full manuscripts and some go completely noteless, while most are somewhere in between. But I appreciate what this writer says about a “deeper connection” with our audiences that may be hindered by an attachment to our notes.
The effective pastor: never skimp on the sermon by Joe McKeever (joemckeever.com)
We don’t call ourselves “pastors,” but we recognize that most of our church contexts expect us to do a lot of pastoral work. And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course—we do what we do because we love people, and our effectiveness in preaching and evangelism depends to a great extent on our love of and care for them. Add to that all of the other expectations that are embedded in local work—office minutiae, church bulletins, etc.—and we can find our sermon prep time getting squeezed out. All that to say this: most of us need to read an article like this one, probably every Monday or so.
Ten questions to diagnose your smartphone usage by Alastair Roberts
This article doesn’t directly address preachers, but it might be the most relevant thing you read this week. Many of us probably give our smartphones too much time and attention, and so does almost everyone who’s sitting in our pews. This would be a good diagnostic exercise for our own lives, and it might help us help our people as well.
Ordinary: Christian living for the rest of us by Tim Challies (challis.com)
A few years back several Christian books with a similar theme were popular: Radical by David Platt, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. If you’ve read them, you know what their emphasis is: following Jesus means giving your all to him; it’s a complete surrender that will often cause you to do things that unbelievers around you find inexplicable. Lots of folks were challenged by these books—I know they caused me to reevaluate my commitment to Christ.
That part is good, I think, but there were times as I was reading them when I felt like I could never do enough. I would never be committed enough. I would never sacrifice enough.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that, because there has been a bit of a backlash in the last couple of years. Representing that view is this article from Tim Challies. They don’t argue for a watered-down commitment, but rather for a realistic view of what a “normal” Christian life looks like.
Have you ever wondered if God is pleased with your run-of-the-mill ordinary life? Is he okay with your living in a middle-class neighborhood and being paid a salary that supports your family? Or does God expect all of us to sell everything we’ve got and move to the inner-city or to a developing country? Challies is helpful, as always.
3 reasons why exercise is good for your soul by Michael Kelley (michaelkelley.co)
I’m an on-again, off-again exerciser, so during those off-again times I need a spiritual reason to hit the gym or pound the pavement. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy this article.
What’s helping you in your ministry?
Do you have resources that you find useful in your work? Would you share them with me so I can share them here? If so, email me – I’d be grateful.