Sermon Spectacular in Waukesha August 15
I recently had an email conversation with the Rev. Nicole Farley, Teaching Elder at First Presbyterian Church, Waukesha. She is hosting a Sermon Spectacular on Saturday, August 15, from 9:00AM until 12:00PM. It will be an opportunity to hear the preaching of several people, which would be inspiring to say the least. I asked Nicole a few questions about the event. Her answers follow the questions below.
This Sermon Spectacular event is at the same time very fresh and very traditional. What inspired you to create it.
I was remembering a sermon illustration I had heard before and, wanting to use it myself, I tried tracking down the source so I could get the details right. In my memory, I thought it had been shared by one of our teaching elders when I first came into the presbytery, during a sermon at a presbytery meeting shaped by the old format. I LOVE the new format of our presbytery meetings and the great opportunities for learning from guests AND I miss being able to hear my colleagues preach. So often I hear that this person has a terrific style or that person really weaves a message together but many of us can't get away from our own pulpits in order to visit other churches. Right around the same time that I was thinking about this, the Festival of Homiletics was going on and I thought it could really be fun (yes, fun!) to hear one another in a similar format locally, using our own expertise.
You are a pastor. What motivates you to preach inspiring sermons? What take-away do you hope for among the audience?
My hope when I am preparing a message is that it will be an aid to connecting people to this living Word. I take very seriously the intent of the prayer for illumination which calls upon the Spirit to do the inspiring and I hope, on a good day, something I say will be used for that.
As I mentioned, I want us to have a chance to experience one another's preaching -- maybe we'll hear sermon illustrations we could use, maybe we'll learn a style we'd like to try. This goes for teaching elders, Commissioned Ruling Elders, inquirers and candidates! Mostly, I hope we walk away feeling fed -- for teaching elders and Commissioned Ruling Elders in congregations, leading worship for many is not the same as worshipping so receiving the Word from another is a huge gift. Of course, this event is open for anyone to attend and I would wish that all who attend feel fed. By asking participants to preach on any combination of the lectionary texts for day after the event, I hope that makes it easier for people to choose to participate since they might already be preparing a message on the texts.
How will you know if this event is successful?
My aim is simply to make space for the opportunity to hear one another. If others who consider a morning filled with preaching fun (besides me) come, then it will have been good that it happened. If others who want to have a chance to try out their sermons a day early come, then it will have been good that it happened. Really, if someone feels like they got something out of it -- preacher, congregant, family, or friend -- through preaching or fellowship or both, then it will have been good that it happened.
Thank your for your responses, Nicole. All the best with your Preaching Palooza!
Submitted by Donna Holmes