Welcome Friends!

Welcome Friends!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Preaching Series

Well it is summer time! After all of the busy things we do in the month of may (Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Graduations), how many of you do something different for worship and/or preaching during your summertime worship? Do you struggle with low attendance and try something different to keep the interest going in those hot hazy days?

I started to preach a sermon series a few years ago when I preached one Sunday during Easter time and got an idea. Our church in Ursa, IL is fortunate to have some beautiful stained glass windows, and I used one for a sermon illustration. When I started to really look at our windows, I realized there was an even amount of First and Second Testament scripture stories represented -- and enough windows to go through the three months of the summer (without counting 4th of July and my vacation Sunday). Everyone in the church enjoyed the series because it brought out some familiar stories that we don't always hear in church and it gave them an opportunity to appreciate the windows that are always present, but sometimes overlooked.

This summer's sermon series is starting to come together -- a series on "Psalms and Prayers". Living with the Psalms and some familiar prayers that we all may need to know. I am teaching the congregation to use the Lectio Divina method of living with scriptures. The first Sunday I started with Thanksgiving psalms and I gave them 5 different scriptures on a sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 paper (each scripture in a text box on the page). And I encouraged them to cut out one of the texts and put it somewhere where they could read it a couple times a day -- on their bathroom mirror, by the nightstand, etc. We will go through several weeks of topics -- the idea came from reading Marti Steussy's Chalice Commentary for Today: Psalms for the topic ideas.

So what are you going to do this summer? Continue to preach what ever crosses your mind? Continue to preach the lectionary? Or create a sermon series that may inspire not only your congregation, but also may pick you up during the summer slump!


Kate said...

That's really cool. You know, stained glass used to serve as a projector does today - something to edify people while they are meditating or (hopefully not) distracted from the sermon.

Alan's new church has gorgeous windows, and I enjoyed walking around the sanctuary by myself the other day and looking at everything in the windows.

I think that talking about ANYTHING in the sanctuary is very important, because there are too many things that we allow to become commonplace that should be respected, and too many common things that we allow to be idolized for the glorification of the person it is attached to.

I gave a 40 minute sermon a week and a half ago. I'm taking the summer off. :)

No job or school from July 1 - August 24...Just handy-me work!

Linda Hunsaker said...

Hi Kate -- thanks for sharing. I think your right about preaching on anything in the sanctuary is important. That may be another blog entry -- symbolism in our worship space. So many emergent settings are doing away with items like "crosses" and "communion tables/altars". I think that this visual stimulated generation would appreciate even more the things we have in our worship space -- not strip it bare to nothing (unless that was a sermon point!)

By the way -- I started at CTS and found a good place in ministry in Bloomington. I wish you well in your new journey.

Sandhya said...

How funny, Kate! Our summer series is on "the barefoot saints," the ten people in the New Testament featured in our church's stained glass windows. I actually am using it as a way to connect with the origins of our church: Why did our forebears in 1928 choose THESE people to look down and offer us comfort and hope? (Interestingly, ours are all NT, but half women and half men.) Now when we look up, we see Peter reminding us that God will never give up on us no matter what we do; we'll look up at Martha and remember that she (in John) had the courage to speak her truth to God and not to be afraid to ask for what she needed; and the list goes on. We're more like the people in the bible than we realize, and we have more in common with the people who built our dauntingly reverent sanctuary, too. Placing ourselves in the bible stories is a pretty powerful exercise, and a little more work than figuring out "what they have to do with our lives," but it can be such a rich way of learning to live our lives as followers of Jesus. Thanks for a great conversation starter!