Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Article: Sermon Structures

David Schmitt at Concordia Theology discusses that preparing a sermon can be a messy activity. Meditating on the Scriptural text, the world around you, and the work of God in the lives of his people produces a vast array of ideas and experiences. For example, one week a preacher may gather together a line from a hymn, a scene from a recent movie, a metaphor of the gospel, an exegetical insight, a conversation after bible class, a controversy in the news, and a child’s drawing left in the pew. Any of these ideas might make it into the sermon. All of them cannot. So the preacher needs to be selective about what he includes and purposeful about when he includes it as he shapes the experience of the sermon. How does a preacher do that?  By using a sermon structure.

A sermon structure is the purposeful ordering of ideas and experiences in the sermon.  It helps the preacher identify what material will be included in the sermon and organize that material into purposeful proclamation. Historically, preachers have found that certain structures work well for communicating to God’s people. This website provides you an overview of those structures, both in theory and in practice.
The structures are divided into three categories:  thematic structures, textual structures, and dynamic structures. Thematic structures arise from the teaching of the sermon. The preacher identifies a main teaching and then divides that teaching into points for the hearers that follow one another in a logical order. Textual structures arise from the text of the sermon. They may follow the text in a verse-by-verse fashion, move from the text to application, or incorporate the genre of the text in preaching. Dynamic structures arise from the experience of the hearers. They identify the experiences of one’s hearers, their cultural and spiritual modes of knowing, and use them in service to the proclamation of the gospel.
Each structure has strengths and weaknesses in respect to the tapestry of preaching and, therefore, preachers choose their sermon structure wisely. For example, a verse-by-verse structure can work well in communicating the meaning of a text (i.e., textual exposition) but may cause the hearers to be unsure of the primary teaching of the sermon (i.e., theological confession) or to lose sight of the work of Christ in their lives (i.e., evangelical proclamation). In contrast, a thematic structure of definition can work well in defining one main thought for the hearers (i.e, theological confession) and applying it to their lives (i.e., hearer interpretation), but may overlook much of the text (i.e, textual exposition) or not relate this teaching to God’s gracious work in Christ (i.e., evangelical proclamation).
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of various sermon structures enables the preacher to use them wisely. The more familiar a preacher is with various sermon structures, the greater ability he will have to choose the structure that fits his preaching situation. This website is an introduction to various sermon structures and hopes to foster variety of form and faithfulness in proclamation.

Table of Contents

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book: Ministry in disaster settings

Ministry in Disaster Settings: Lessons from the Edge studies the issues for clergy and church leaders during disasters. 
It is based on interviews with a number of ministry agents who cared for their communities during and after major tragedies. The book seeks to understand what were the issues for them, including how they were affected, if and how they were cared for, and what lessons the church can learn in doing this work and caring for the carers. this is a valuable resource to all people involved in ministry, chaplaincy and caring for pastors and other religious helpers. 

Part One is a series of Case Studies of individual ministers and chaplains involved in: 

  • The Granville Train Disaster; 
  • The Kempsey Bus Crash; 
  • The Port Arthur Massacre 
  • the Thredbo Ski Resort Landslide. 

Part Two examines the nature of ministry "on the edge" and its affect on ministry agents. 
Part Three is Biblical and Theological Reflections on Ministry in Crisis times. 
Part Four consists of lessons for ministry on the edge; for pastors and their carers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Article: Choosing leaders: Character, Competence and Committment

Many congregations and churches are in a position of selecting leaders....lay and paid leaders.   

The following article from Ivey Business Journal highlights that when it comes to selecting and assessing CEOs, other C-suite level executives or board members, the most important criteria for boards to consider are competencies, commitment and character. This article focuses on the most difficult of these criteria to assess – leadership character – and suggests the eleven key dimensions of character that directors should consider in their governance roles.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Small Group/Life Group Video studies first lesson free from over 140 bible studies

Zondervan offers the entire first lesson for over 140 their DVD based group Bible studies. No more guessing on the content, instead you get the full video experience by being able to see and evaluate the complete first lesson of each multi-lesson Bible study.
Each video is easy to share with your friends, small group or Bible study. Just hit the "share" button under the video and send it via email, Facebook, or Twitter.
Zondervan video-based group Bible studies are available on DVD. These video Bible studies feature a variety of topics from many authors, and are available wherever small group resources and curriculum are sold including, and many others

Visit the playlist page
or click the video below

2014 New Years eve and New Years day ideas

New years eve is a great opportunity to spend time with God and other Christians, reflecting on the year gone and preparing of the year ahead
Following are some suggestions that may help you in your New Years eve and day planning.

New Years Eve worship service with stations

LifeWay suggestions for New Years Eve

United Church of Christ Watch Night Service

African American Lectionary Watch Night Service

Textweek suggestions

Reformed worship ideas

Messiah Lutheran Church - Worship ideas you can use

Creative Youth Ideas

Skit Guys videos

Bible Readings recommended by the Lutheran Church of Australia
31 Dec 14 New Year’s Eve
Jeremiah 24:1-7 The vision of the two baskets of figs
Psalm 102:24-28
1 Peter 1:22-25 We are born anew by the word of God
Luke 13:6-9 The parable of the unfruitful fig tree

1 Jan 15 New Year’s Day
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 For everything there is a time
Psalm 8
Revelation 21:1-6a A new heaven and a new earth
Matthew 25:31-46 The last judgment