Top 5 Posts of 2015

My most popular posts written in 2015 (according to the number of page views during this calendar year) are Sermon: Lost –> Found –> Party Effective Leaders Ask for Feedback Leaving Parish Ministry World Religions from 2010 to 2050 Leaders Clear Obstacles So What? Leadership is the only topic to appear more than once on this year's list. While four of last year's top posts related to worship, only one worship related post made this year's list. Which of these five Read More …

Most Popular Sermons of 2015

I preached around forty sermons this year at Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ (Fort Myers, FL).  According to YouTube views, the most popular messages are That's the Book for Me – watch / read - a 16 min. message on the Bible (warning: this is the first and only sermon I have ever preached that includes singing) Titleless – watch / read – a 13 min. message on humility Surprising Salaries – watch / read – a 12 min. message on generosity Personal Transformation + – watch Read More …

No Sermon Sunday #1

I did not preach today, and I will not be preaching again anytime soon. Last Sunday I preached my final sermon as Transitional Pastor of Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ (Fort Myers, FL).   During my nine months there and for ten months while serving as Interim Senior Pastor of United Church (Marco Island, FL), it was my habit to post my sermon here each Sunday.  Those posts contained the Scripture reading, a sermon excerpt (along with a link to the manuscript and video), Read More …

Topical Tuesdays

Last Tuesday I facilitated the final session of an educational event I called "Topical Tuesdays." When I started my current transitional (interim) ministry I learned that the previous pastor conducted a mid-week Bible study using the Sunday lectionary texts from which he would develop his sermon.  Since I opted to preach more topically, I substituted a topical conversation for Bible study. This year's sermon series included: Fruitful Practices (inspired by Five Practices of Fruitful Read More …

Most Popular Sermons

We are now almost two weeks into the second half of the year known as 2015.  A few weeks ago I shared my most popular blog posts from the first half of the year.  Today, I offer my most popular sermons from the first half of the year (based on YouTube views) in lieu of new sermon content since I am on vacation and not preaching this morning. Titleless - watch / read - a 13 min. message on humility Surprising Salaries - watch / read - a 12 min. message on the Parable of the Laborers in the Read More …

Death of the Sermon?

Christianity has always been growing, changing, and evolving.  In recent years the rate of change has accelerated.  Here in America the shift toward a less religiously affiliated population is well underway.  Recent research has led many experts to speculate that it is reasonable to think the nones (those with no religious affiliation) will grow even more rapidly in the next few decades. For those who have chosen to remain a part (or who have opted to become a part) of Christianity, corporate Read More …

Don’t Compliment My Sermons

Frederick Schmidt, an Episcopalian Priest who serves as the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary , recently shared a list of 12 things your priest, pastor, or minister wishes you knew.  Coming in third on his list is a wish regarding preaching: Don’t compliment my sermons. React to them. I would rather hear you struggle with what I’ve said from the pulpit or tell me that you disagree and why, rather than say, “That was nice.” So What? As Read More …

Summer Shifts

Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year.  It is also a time when many people temporarily shift their normal routine.  I will be making shifts in several areas for the summer, including: Blogging I have published one blog post a day for the last 10 months, and a total of 1,450 since launching this blog in 2009.  This will be my last daily post for the summer.  I will continue to post on occasion rather than taking a month off as I did last year (a much needed break Read More …

TEDx Presenters vs Preachers

I typically use my Sunday blog post to share my sermon. Since I am not preaching today, I offer instead a comparison of two popular speech acts: TEDx talks and sermons.  The basis for such an analysis comes from Nicholas McDonald's, a M.Div. student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, recent blog post on the topic.    More specifically I have chosen to create a chart with columns for the characteristics McDonald suggests are common among TEDx speakers but uncommon among preachers, whether I Read More …

Sermon Preferences

According to the latest survey by LifeWay Research, most Americans prefer in person preaching to a video sermon when attending worship at a church.  About a third (35%) indicated they will only visit churches with services of worship that feature live sermons.  Strikingly, less than 1% prefer viewing a video sermon. So What? I have only attended one service of worship that featured a video recording of a pastor's sermon.   Prior to that experience, I disliked the idea.  After the Read More …