Monday, June 18, 2007

The Power of Preaching?

Well, the sermon seems to have gone well by the response. I get so hyped up when it comes time to preach! Each morning before I preach, the excitement is so great that I can't imagine doing anything else. (Well, I could imagine playing in the US Open on Father's Day and maintaining a schedule on the PGA Tour if I was good enough, but that's beside the point.) But as I thought more about what I plan to do (preach), I began to wonder how much of a difference will I make?

I had prepared my sermon on Wednesday of last week and I was excited about the coming Sunday. After all, it is a pretty big deal to preach at Southern Hills. But when I entered the haircut store that afternoon I began to question myself. As sat down in the chair the conversation went well until I mentioned where I am working this summer. Then, it turned to silence. That put my Sunday experience in perspective. How small a thing it is to preach each week! That's not going to make a difference for the lady cutting my hair and at times I wonder if it makes a difference for the people at church. Do sermons form people in any significant way? Or is it just a bunch of language put together to entertain? My prayer each week is that God will pour through me the gift of preaching so that Christ might be formed in the hearts of those present, but does it make a difference?

My theory of language says that it does. I believe the word itself makes an impact on the hearer - that language is in some way performative at times. But is that all just theory or are our sermons making a difference? Surely the pastoral parts of ministry make a difference in lives, but does the sermon itself form people. I'd like to think so. Let me know about your experience.

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