(Recently one of our amazing student pastors here at Duke, Rev. Philip Chryst, shared with me about a unique and imaginative approach that his rural church had used to connect with seekers in the community: “WikiWorship.” I invited Philip to describe the program for us below. In this week when many people are asking questions such as “What is Good Friday, anyway?,” “Why exactly did Jesus die?,” and “Resurrection isn't really real - is it?,” we would all do well to attend to the example of Warren’s Grove UMC, and to pay attention to the spiritual questions of God’s children.)
(A sermon for Palm Sunday, posted at the request of my great Course of Study 513 students.)
The Kinds of Questions Faithful Leaders Ask of Life’s Texts
(In my previous post I argued that the image of "exegesis" can be helpful to us as we make leadership decisions in the parish. Many of the same questions we ask of a biblical text in preparation for preaching can be helpful to us as we "read" a particular situation or dilemma that faces us and then decide how to respond.
The need for problem-solving is one of the day to day realities of leadership in the parish. Every week pastors are presented with complex situations that require us to discern a faithful response. Confronted with the enigmatic riddles and Gordian knots that mark life in congregation, we find ourselves continually asking God, “What in the world should we do?” What should we do in response to the conflict in that family? How should we best approach the board about that planned change? What should we do about the Sunday School issue?
The following sermon was preached on March 7th, 2010, at Duke University Chapel.
When pastors reflect upon church leadership, I often hear them repeat the well-worn proverb, “You have to choose your battles – to know which ones are worth fighting, and which ones are not.”
Perhaps these pastors are more right than they ever knew.