I had the privilege of giving a paper called “Pastors, Preach God!” to the Toronto Pastors Fellowship last week.
You can also listen to the talk online.
My thesis on theocentric preaching has finally passed proofreading by the D.Min. office and is now available for download.
I hope to eventually shape this material into a book, since the thesis format is structured for a specific purpose. Although the thesis is done, in some ways it’s just a beginning.
I’ve been asked to speak to a local group of pastors today on theocentric preaching. I’ll only have about an hour, so it’s forced me to narrow what I want to say.My notes for the seminar are available for download (in PDF – requires the free Adobe Reader):
I’m looking forward to today’s presentation. Should be fun.
This blog began last year as I was writing my D.Min. thesis for Gordon-Conwell on the subject of theocentric preaching. This Friday, I'm in Boston to defend the thesis. I'm looking forward to the experience, although I suspect I'll be a little nervous going into the meeting.I probably won't be posting the rest of the week. Hope to be back next week.
I listened to a podcast this week that said when you do version 1.0 of something, your goal should be just to survive. "Just get through it the first time. You can try that stuff you read about in magazines later."
Yesterday I rolled out version 1.0 of a seminar on theocentric preaching, and I think it's safe to say we all survived. We had fun and I think we might have thought through some important issues. I couldn't have picked better people to attend and to interact with the topic.
The best part of the seminar was the interaction. Most of the interaction seemed to be about two issues. First, what does it mean to be theocentric when God and Scripture seem to focus on humanity? Second, what does theocentric preaching look like in practice? All kinds of other issues surfaced too, such as how to interpret and apply Scripture accurately (hermeneutics, especially relating to modern methods which may be too neat and reductionistic), and the hot button issue of exemplary preaching (preaching biblical characters as models to emulate).
People felt free to push back, which I appreciated. I found some areas where my thinking is still fuzzy, and I realized that I need a lot more concrete examples. Still, I was pleased that some of my findings seemed to strike a chord, and it was clear that we were talking about issues that everyone felt a need to discuss.
Although I tried not to do this, I still make a rookie mistake: I had way too much content for the amount of time. I think if I did it over I would send out a brief paper with introductory material, and then teach the session inductively. Learning is much more effective when you learn yourself rather than when someone else tells you what they've learned. We ran out of time for the hands-on part; I really had more there than we could accomplish in four or five hours.
I was glad when it ended, because I was exhausted. Today, though, I wish we could go at it again, because I loved thinking things through with a group of people. There's a lot to be said for learning in community.
Now I have to summarize the feedback, add it to my thesis, and send it in. Good to be coming to the end, but I hope that the type of learning experience I had yesterday will continue in some form.
Just got out from the Theocentric Preaching Seminar. Eighteen people attended, which was the perfect size to engage and discuss the issues. I’ll post some reflections tomorrow.
If you’re interested in reading the seminar notebook, here it is:
If you are reading this, you are invited to attend a seminar I’m doing as part of my D.Min. program. It would be fun to have you there, and I’d love to get your ideas. Here’s the scoop:
Most preachers understand that good preaching connects with people’s needs. While addressing people’s needs is good, there is a corresponding danger: to make the sermon about us rather than about God. A desire to be relevant can lead to anthropocentric sermons that provide answers to life’s dilemmas, meet the questions, issues, and needs of the moment, but miss the bigger picture.
Join us for a seminar that will explore how to preach theocentrically. We’ll cover:
Tuesday, September 19th
9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Richview Baptist Church
(1548 Kipling Avenue, Etobicoke, ON)
Cost: $10 (includes lunch)
RSVP email@example.com or 416-247-8701