Jordan B. Davis
Church Relations Officer
I have heard it said that much of the time, ministers preach on what they need to hear personally. Well, maybe I just need some quiet time in my life!
This past Sunday I had the incredible privilege to worship and guest preach at Davie Street Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC. As I prepared for this particular sermon, I tried to take my own advice from last week’s blog and included “personal prayer” on my “To Do” list. Not only did this make a huge difference for me mentally as I approached the text each day, but I felt much more prepared and at peace as I walked into the sanctuary on Sunday morning.
As worship came to a close on Sunday morning, I realized once again how important it is to make sure that we and our parishioners take a few moments of personal time with God when we entered the time for meditation, the final act of worship.
Songs had been sung, prayers had been prayed, God’s Word had been read and proclaimed and the charge and benediction had been pronounced. The organist played a peaceful arrangement of the morning’s anthem as the congregation remained in their seats in prayer and contemplation before they departed that sacred space to carry God’s Word into the world.
When I was preparing for my first sermon years ago, I remember my minister saying, “Well, that was pretty good but where is the challenge?” As I read the books and took the classes on preaching, this idea was further emphasized. How is the text challenging us to live?
I wonder how many times we have left the sanctuary on a Sunday morning, focused on where we were going for lunch or what project needed to happen that afternoon, and left the challenge of the day back in the pew? I know that I am personally guilty of that more than I would like to admit. However, this time that is set aside for the purpose of reflecting on what has been both said and heard during worship, provides the perfect space to begin what we hope is a week-long (if not life-long) process.
I encourage you to try this in your own worship services sometime. If you are a pastor and know what you will be preaching on, maybe you can include one or two questions in the bulletin or even include the challenge in print so each person can not only reread during this time, but have it in print to carry with them throughout the week.
I know that we would all love to think that prayer and reflection happen every day, however I think we can acknowledge that this isn’t the case. The best diets on the market seem to be the ones that involve a community to support the individual. When there are external factors holding us accountable, and others supporting and encouraging us in our endeavors, we are more likely to succeed. This is one of the reasons we meet together to worship each week. So, my challenge to each congregational leader that reads this today is this: how can you not only encourage, but make time and space, for you and your parishioners to take personal time with God within the company of the community?
Davie Street Presbyterian Church is located in downtown Raleigh, NC and led by Rev. Byron Wade (Presbyterian School of Christian Education, MA 1994). To learn more about how this vibrant congregation carries their reflections into their ministry, find them on Facebook.