Sunday, August 8, 2010

"... clergy have seen their job descriptions rewritten..."

h/t former parishioner and now FB friend RS:

Op-Ed Contributor - Congregations Gone Wild - NYTimes.com

"...the advisory committee of my small congregation in Massachusetts told me to keep my sermons to 10 minutes, tell funny stories and leave people feeling great about themselves. The unspoken message in such instructions is clear: give us the comforting, amusing fare we want or we’ll get our spiritual leadership from someone else...

Ministry is a profession in which the greatest rewards include meaningfulness and integrity. When those fade under pressure from churchgoers who don’t want to be challenged or edified, pastors become candidates for stress and depression."

3 comments:

Alice C. Linsley said...

In the last days they will only listen to those who "tickle the ears".

That's why preachers must cut to the chase and preach on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Christ who was promised from the beginning (Gen. 3:15), who came into the world to save sinners, like me. This "doctrine of the Lord" sounds new in our day. It has the power to astonish just as it astonished Sergius Paulus (Act 13).

The Underground Pewster said...

From a sermon critic (me).

Okay, I will grant you 11 minutes to get the point across. Longer discussions might be better held during Bible study or Sunday school. Longer sermons often detract from the worship of the Lord and run the risk of leading to worship of the preacher.

TLF+ said...

Alice, I agree. There are strokes for empty, feel-good "preaching" and that diminishes the holy work.

Pewster, you make a good point. Liturgical churches need to talk about liturgical preaching. It is a part of the whole liturgy, not a separate function. Same goes for things like passing the peace, of course. We haven't done a good job of forming the people or the preachers.