Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Sermon Life Cycle, Enhanced by Social Media

My sermon preparation has evolved over the years. The Bible study aspect has changed in small ways. The craft of the sermon has evolved tremendously, especially through blogging and Twitter. The craft is also reminiscent of "Bible in one hand, newspaper in the other" approach of Karl Barth.

The devotional/newspaper reading are not simultaneous acts for me, it's more like a chicken and egg construct. I was reading the newspaper long before I was reading the Bible. But did I hear the Bible before I started reading the newspaper? I can also imagine Granddad reading me The Seattle Times instead of Dr. Seuss or The Little Engine That Could. No matter the origins of taking in words, the activities of Bible and "newspaper" work together, generating power as if a see saw was generating power. It's also good to get together with colleagues and friends to talk about the Bible, but blogging and Twitter give me more opportunities to work with and refine ideas, broadening my experience of God working through others and me.

With the hard copies of several newspapers and magazines, and a blog roll of both professional and amateur writers, I share content via Twitter, and occasionally on Facebook. From the responses I can get an idea of what people are thinking, and possible questions I can ask related to Bible texts. Tweets sometimes represent rudimentary sermon ideas, a blog post is more developed. A sermon can be the intersection of Bible/theology reading, social media midrash, collegial interaction, pastoral care, congregational discourse, newspapers and magazines, idea tweets, and blog posts.

Sometimes all of this activity doesn't lead to my sermon, but through using hashtags, favorites, and searches, I create a bank of ideas from which I can withdraw later on. I find it equally enjoyable when I inspire my fellow social media users to ponder the questions of life, or a colleague tells me our discussion or writing fed a sermon of theirs. This is Holy Spirit movement.

1 comment:

  1. Joe, Love your approach. I work for a company which helps pastors involve their congregation in discussing sermons online (both before and after). We use an online learning system especially designed for churches, to enable blended online discipleship and training, so pastors have more time to build relationships and actually do ministry with their congregations. If you are interested in more info check us out at Arkeo.com.