There is a black lab—a student's guide dog—lying on the floor during chapel. As I preach, I wonder what the dog is thinking.
I can see my dad's manuscript: the title centered in caps, the body double-spaced and marked up by hand. But I can't remember the words.
Shortly after my most recent move, my long-time boyfriend and I ended our relationship. The next week, I was scheduled to preach. I'm part of a multi-pastor church, and my colleagues graciously offered to step in and preach in my place. But I was stubborn. I decided that I wanted—no, needed—to preach.
Our guests know that resurrection defies logic. That is why they come sidling through our doors—every one of them comes hoping for it.
Our hunger is for words that evoke our deepest emotions, that name the wilderness in which we live—but not alone.
Many of us love the busyness and energy of a robust church. And yet all of us pastors must summon an uncommon discipline if we are to reflect the priority of preaching.
Cornelius Plantinga Jr. contends that to be fully prepared to share a word from God with a congregation, a preacher should attend to storytellers, biographers, poets and journalists.
As church leaders, we have our ears, hearts, and words. We pray that God will use them. But we also have limitations--time, energy, and ability. And even though we feel helpless, like we can never do enough, sometimes being the person who takes the picture, who tells the story is our most important job.
“You have to grow tougher skin, Carol,” my colleague told me when I invited him to lunch and asked for his advice on a church matter. I inhaled deeply. That was the same response I heard repeatedly for the first ten years of my pastorate. Whenever I got frustrated, well-meaning friends and colleagues would tell me that I needed to miraculously grow some sort of Teflon epidermis.