The past couple of weeks, I have been addressing the role of preaching within the local church. Specifically about the how and why of preaching more than the what of preaching.
This preaching-focus is connected to one of the primary roles (or Pillars) pastors must fulfill to be effective in ministry. In the Transforming Pastoral Ministry and Leadership model I am offering, this is Pillar #4: Preaching, Teaching, and Worship.
I am also suggesting that we learn to practice the art/craft of preaching much like a Curator practice the art/craft of creating an environment within a museum.
A Curator’s goal is to create an environment that is conducive to a transcendent experience. If you’ve ever walked through a thoughtfully crafted art display, then you know what I am talking about.
You often find yourself lingering, caught up in the experience. When you do leave, you feel like you’ve experienced a larger story. A story the artist him or herself has created.
You’ve been a part of the experience in a way that has left you wanting more.
One of my favorite holiday movies, that I often watch right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, is The Family Man.
I’m a big fan of the cast, which includes Nicholas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, and Saul Rubinek.
But more than the cast, it’s the storyline that gets me.
A Glimpse of What’s Possible
Here is the gist: single, billionaire playboy (Cage) falls asleep one lonely Christmas Eve night in his upscale NYC apartment. The next morning (Christmas Day) he wakes up in the Jersey suburbs. Happily married to Tea (who wouldn’t be) with two incredible kids.
There is only one problem; this isn’t his life. It’s the life he said no to a decade earlier in pursuit of the American dream.
Now he is getting a “glimpse” of the life that slipped away!
After all, our calling, vocation or mission in life is often tied tightly to doing something.
In fact, when you ask someone about calling or personal mission, they will likely list off a host of things they are doing.
Ruth Haley Barton notes our rampant confusion regarding calling when she says,
“We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of person they should be.” —Ruth Haley Barton
In the church, where we should know better, this misapprehension of calling takes on cosmic proportions. Primarily because we spiritualize everything and thereby make it far more urgent than callings in other areas of life.
Here, for example, is a personal vision statement I lived by as recently as ten years ago.