By: Paul Beasley-Murray
For those of us who are fit and well and who lead busy lives, it's all too easy to "pass by on the other side" of our elderly neighbors. Some are in nursing homes, others have lost spouses and friends. Many are alone.
By: Stuart Blythe
Preaching against racism is prophetic, and the ones who can best deliver that courageous and disruptive message are pastors, who are invested in the life of a congregation and can make that message transformative.
By: Stuart Blythe
William Willimon's latest book draws on his own Methodist tradition in order to honestly name racism as sin. And for a model of preaching in a way that confronts racism, he turns to Baptist pastor, Martin Luther King Jr.
By: Jim Somerville
For three weeks after white nationalists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, I mentioned racism in my sermons and how we need to root it out of our hearts and out of our nation, but I may have pushed too hard.
By: Tony Cartledge
Although many preachers prepare their own sermons, plagiarism has long been a common preacherly practice. Pastors and congregations must work together to ensure quality time for sermon preparation.
By: Leanna K. Fuller
Churches can disagree on many things, but most of us agree that racism is fundamentally wrong. Saying nothing is both a mark of privilege and a sign of complicity. This is a time for moral courage.
By: Paul Beasley-Murray
Lamentations 1 offers no remedy for the world's pain. It is a chapter of unalleviated woe, full of loss and suffering. And yet, this side of the cross, we inevitably link this chapter with the passion of Jesus.
By: John Pierce
Honest students of the Bible are aware that they see through cultural lenses in pursuit of timeless truths. Being aware of cultural influences will allow you to distinguish between the divine and cultural assumptions.
By: Ferrell Foster
Martin Luther King Jr. understood the relationship between love and justice. Today, we can build on the same practical and theological foundations upon which he built his life.
By: James Gordon
We live in a world of hate. One of hate's most dangerous features is its capacity to reproduce itself, often in the victims of hate-inspired violence. What kind of love does it take to redeem hate?
By: Stephen Holmes
A good sermon does what the text does. Like a mock reality TV show, bad preaching merely describes how the text did its work. Follow the first rule of good storytelling: Show, don't tell.
By: Stephen Holmes
TED talks and sermons differ in one key area. Preachers need to remember that the sermon should never be about proposing new ideas, but about changing hearts and attitudes.
By: Joel Gregory
A pastor and professor shares some of the most important lessons he learned after a half-century of preaching. Before you step behind the pulpit, check out these seven lessons.
By: Greg DeLoach
If your church isn't well grounded in an understanding of Lent, you can begin to teach and offer creative ways to worship, observe and serve. Here's how to begin the journey together.
By: Preston Clegg
Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee cared passionately for their causes. However, one sought to bring about change through proclamation and the other sought to prevent change through force.
With angels, shepherds and barnyard animals present, Mary and Joseph weren't likely to have a silent night. Amid the season's clutter, it's hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
The Protestant Reformation would not have been possible without the emergence of inspiring preachers. To bring about such needed shifts today, the role of the pulpit is a critical place to begin.
Ministers face a delicate dilemma when sharing their knowledge with their congregations. Here are five suggestions to help you discern the boundary between caution and dishonesty.
If you want to encourage your pastor to deliver inspiring sermons, think about ways you can ensure awful messages every week – and let them suggest ways to promote positive results.
If we see the earth as purely a resource under the bondage of human beings, we are more likely to see human beings as purely a resource under the bondage of others.
Any honest preacher will admit that his or her identity is inextricably tied to the voice. But what happens to preachers if they are no longer able to speak?
Lots of people will tell you how to preach. But Lillian Daniel, senior minister of First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Ill., recently shared tips on how not to preach.
When we see injustice and inequality and say nothing, we participate in the injustice. Many Christians, however, remain silent out of fear of losing pay, position or prestige.
Sermon preparation is hard work, despite what some church folk might think. Still, how often do pastors allow biblical texts to speak to them before they share their messages with their congregations?
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Decades ago, Daniel Parker would pretend to be a preacher, belting out sermons as he jumped up and down on his bed.
Fred Craddock, an iconic figure who has preached for nearly 50 years, has helped many people maintain their love of Scripture and preaching. Two of his sayings are healthy reminders for other preachers.
TRENTON, Ill. (RNS) On a recent autumn night, about 100 people listened to the Rev. Sam Childers talk about heroin addiction, biker gangs and African warlords.
The world desperately needs healthy churches and clergy who love to preach God's word. Unfortunately, preaching has become associated for many with personal criticism, unfair expectations and disappointment.
Three dozen years ago, a Baptist church was the first of many to give a preacher boy the chance to preach. I am grateful to them – and to the church today – for allowing me to exercise my calling and practice my craft.
One of the most precarious tasks a preacher faces is that of being a prophet. Being prophetic is part of a healthy sermon diet; it cannot be the only item on the menu.
My grandfather had a certain contempt for preachers. When he learned I was going to become one, he begged me to reconsider. And when he realized I was determined, his advice was simple: Be like Buster.
So, if you ever find yourself asking the same question as the disciples – “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” – you can be certain of this... There is no difficulty, there is no trouble you can go through that Christ will not be by your side. Indeed, he would have you face your storms head on, but you will never have to do it alone. He will take you as you are, just as the disciples did with him, and he will lead you through the wind and the waves on the sea. And the only preparation you need is to simply get into the boat. He will be there waiting for you, and soon you will find that Jesus makes an very good traveling companion.
There is danger in the pulpit because the pulpit is in the church, and the church is in the world, and the world is a dangerous place.
The Academy of Preachers is carried along by the conviction that gospel preaching is a vocation of enormous social and spiritual significance, and that it is worthy of the best energies of the most gifted young people.
Preaching is transformational: in the life of an individual, a congregation, a community, even a nation. After all, the most effective public person of the last 50 years was a Baptist preacher from Alabama. February now boasts a holiday in his memory. Which is why I plan to host a Festival of Young Preachers.
I am recruiting 15-18 young people, students in high school, college, university or seminary who will serve on a Young Preachers Leadership Team. We will gather for a retreat in January, convene for a week-long Preaching Camp in June, and host the first Festival of Young Preachers in Louisville in January 2010.
There has been significant erosion in the conviction that preaching is a vocation of significance, that it is an avenue of influence in the world. So, intelligent, talented and passionate young people are turning away from preaching toward careers as worship artists, public policy wonks and NGO officials.
I never took a class in preaching; I don't remember anyone talking to me about preaching; I am sure I did not read anything about preaching. Given this, it is a wonder that anybody had the grit to sit through one of my so-called sermons.
During my first semester at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 1979 I had the privilege of taking a course on Job that was taught by Dr. Clyde Francisco. One day Dr. Francisco was talking about the 1974 tornados that had caused so much destruction in Louisville. His garage had been hit and he was working with a claims adjustor to determine the value of the garage contents, which included what Dr. Francisco described as a "sack of sermons."
Churches in the African-American tradition are familiar with "talking back." This give-and-take between the pulpit and pew offers immediate and affirming feedback with "that's right," "come on now" and "preach it" in response.
Try to imagine visiting the second largest city in the world with 28 million residents. Then think about that city in terms of a two-and-a-half hour flight from Dallas.
Perhaps it's who I am, but when I sit in church trying to follow the sermon, I am often stunned by the blandness of many Sunday-morning homilies.
Church members across America will hear sermons this Sunday on climate change on Earth Day Sunday, which is celebrated in houses of worship on the weekend closest to Earth Day on April 22.
I know it's not new, I guess I am just more aware of it. But it does seem to be more prevalent. I am talking about anger and hate filled language spoken from American pulpits.
Last week Barack Obama did two remarkable things. First he risked speaking directly to the reality of racism in America and American history. Obama framed his remarks with his signature phrase of "the audacity of hope." He claimed that his populist candidacy for the presidency is proof that audacious hope has a place in today's America.
"I'm here today because nobody calls me 'chicken,'" guest preacher Michelle McClendon said in a sermon Feb. 3 at Second Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas.
Veterans Day creates a ministry dilemma. As a pastor and religious leader, how can I be faithful in teaching what I believe to be central to following Christ and yet not unduly offend others?
Baptist Women in Ministry is hoping to nearly double participation in a second annual day for women to preach in Baptist churches early next year.
"Preachers," said Lewis Perkins, "are what's wrong with the world."
Pastors, have you ever preached a sermon against domestic violence? Odds are you haven't. I've listened to approximately 4,000 sermons and have yet to hear a pastor condemn domestic violence from the pulpit.