Word of the Week

This is What a Preacher Looks Like

This month, the publisher Smyth and Helwys came out with a book entitled, This is What a Preacher Looks Like: Sermons by Baptist Women in Ministry.  

The idea for this new volume of sermons came out of the t-shirt that was printed and distributed by Baptist Women in Ministry at last year's Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Meeting.  Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry got the publisher to sign on to the project and soon became the editor.

I was delighted to be asked to join in the project along with 35 others, submitting a sermon from one of my first weeks of pastoring at Washington Plaza.

When my copy of the book arrived last week in the mail, I read my piece again thinking, "Wow, this is not my favorite sermon."  But, regardless, it was the word of God for the people of God at the time. Reading it again and remembering the place of life and ministry I was in last year when preaching it, reminded me of how much as changed for me and the church over the past year.

I know my understanding of how my particular audience responds to scripture, story and testimony has grown. And, thus the "crispness" of my sermons has sharpened. And, most of all, I continue to learn as a seminary professor once told me that "the hardest sermon I ever wrote was for last Sunday." It never gets easier-- the knowing that you are offering your best on Sunday mornings. Life gets in the way so quickly of the time for thought and reflection that I would like to spend on sermon preparation each week.  And, there are weeks I find myself staring at the computer screen on Saturdays wondering "What in the world am I going to say?"

I know the church now expects a lot out of Sunday's sermons. They want a fresh word of God. They want something with strong theological and Biblical grounding.  I know they want to be challenged in their understandings of God beyond the basics of what they might have learned in youth.

I think this is what makes faith and act of preaching a living art or a conversation between a particular community and a particular pastor.

I'm glad to know that I'm among several other Baptist women practitioners of this living art. I'm looking forward to meeting several of them at the book's booth at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Meeting later on this month in Charlotte.

If you are interested in reading more of these sermons, check out this link to buy your own copy!