Bradley Schmeling on Preaching

Wednesday, January 02, 2008
“When I first began preaching, I wanted each sermon to be a powerful and transformative experience. I wanted it to be exegetically and theologically sound, even while it was painting new pictures and inspiring new metaphors. I wanted people’s lives to be changed and the reign of God to come. Now, after almost 20 years of ministry, I just want to have it done by Friday.”

Bradley Schmeling in Christian Century magazine

via Ruth


  1. Funny. It had never occurred to me before, but I imagine that this can be a major frustration for a pastor.

  2. It is truer than I had ever imagined it would be 20 years ago.

    And it's not necessarily a bad thing, coming to terms with the fact that you will never be a Buechner or Graham.

  3. Ooohh, I saw this too. Actually, after 20 years a sermon by Friday would be amazing, it is often early Sunday morning before the written bit is done. But I think some of the other aspirations about a transformative experience are still in there, it's just I no longer think it crucial that it's down to me to make it happen in a fully scripted and polished form. Maybe, I'm beginning to trust/hope that the Spirit will take up some of the slack.

  4. These days I'm a big fan of 'not trying too hard', which puts the focus back on God doing the real work. It's not an excuse for laziness or mediocrity, it's a testimony of God's grace and our inability to see or experience transformation without the Spirit.

    As a perfectionist, however, I find it's definitely not an easy thing to embrace.

  5. I find similar things apply to leading a housegroup, really.

    I'm glad the Spirit is able to move, because I'm sure I couldn't care adequately for these people, week in week out.


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