Thursday, January 06, 2011

Planning Ahead

"Meeting with our creative team today to lay out all the sermons thru early 2013."

Is this a quote from the future?
A text from some preacher with way too much time on his hands?

No. It's actually a tweet from @PastorMark (Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle). In addition to leading a young family and teaching at this multi-campus church, he is heavily involved in Acts 29 Network church planting, Churches Helping Churches, and Resurgence. He also does an incredible amount of writing and leadership training with church leaders all over the map. I'm not listing that stuff to put him on a pedestal or anything, but to point to the fact that here's a guy who has a busy schedule. Growing kids, growing church, thriving ministry... and yet, he's prioritized time to plot a course for the next 2 years of his preaching.

I know a lot of preachers, teachers, and youth ministers who don't even know what they're teaching next week, let alone the next 100 weeks' worth of messages. How many Sunday school teachers will pick up their curriculum magazine this Saturday night and wonder why more people don't come to class Sunday morning? We think we can fly by the seat of our pants and call it being led by the Spirit or being responsive to circumstances.  But we know the reality, I think, is that we just haven't used our time for planning. Why?

  • Because we're stuck in routines that rob us of any long range vision for our teaching.
    • Sundays & Wednesdays (our traditional teaching days) come with amazing regularity. If we're not careful, their regularity can lull us into some kind of daze in which we do more filling in of templates than crafting of cohesive messages. It would be good for us and those we teach if we would break out of those routines and follow God to some fresh water to share.
  • Because we're alone (and we kind of like it that way).
    • Many of us who teach are alone in our lesson planning, implementation, and follow-up. We choose our topics alone, we study alone, & we deliver alone. It's a heavy burden, but it also allows us to feel the thrill of control. Maybe the time is way past for us to give up on that illusion and learn to collaborate. It won't be easy, but I think it's necessary.
  • Because we're being lazy.
    • It's hard work to sit down and plan a whole series of teaching. It requires intense and even agonizing levels of prayer and study. It forces us to open ourselves to input that may not be easy to hear. It's tough to dig into the new and unfamiliar territory we may be asked to enter. Isn't it a lot easier to lean back on the sermon notes we found online or plug a couple new stories into those messages we've socked away from previous years? It is easier... but not very vibrant & not very effective. We need to be willing to pay the price of preparation.

Please don't think I'm pointing fingers here... my fingers are too busy yanking at this really annoying plank in my eye to be pointing at anyone else. Now that I've got a hold of it though, I think it's coming out. I'm not anticipating a hundred new messages to flow from my mind all at once, but I think I see some fresh water ahead... I'll meet you there.
If you're not a person who regularly teaches or preaches, please pray for those people who are in your life doing that. We need it. Pray that we'll effectively follow the Spirit AND plan our delivery of His message.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive theoquest