So…I think it went well. (To see what I’m talking about look here.)
I told the congregation to find a partner or get in a group of three. For those that didn’t want to work with a group, I told them just to stare at the handout and don’t make eye contact – the rest of us would get the message. I then posed a series of three questions designed to help them reflect on how well they loved God and loved people in 2009. I would ask a question, give my answer as an example, and then give them three to four minutes to talk amongst themselves. After that I gave a twenty-minute teaching on 1st Samuel 13 and 14 comparing how Jonathan and Saul both handled crisis (or decisions that bring the opportunity for change). I then had them close by discussing together how they will be different in 2010.
I think it went well? There was a lot of discussion. People actually did the activity; which honestly surprised me. I thought I was going to get a room of dead fish.
This was funny – one guy got up and left to go check on something before the sermon started. He then returned to find everyone talking amongst themselves; me sitting on the steps at the front; and the guitar player noodling on his guitar. He panicked and thought something had gone wrong in the service so he ran over to some friends and asked them if everything was alright.
The service accomplished four goals for me:
1. It was interactive. The congregation had to participate in it.
2. It encouraged a sense of ownership of the application. They built their own application off the message.
3. It got them thinking about Spiritual Disciplines – specifically prayer.
4. It was narrative and, if they so desire, equiped them to experience 1st Samuel on their own.
The craziest part was how uncomfortable it made me. The outcome of the sermon was completely out of my control. There was no way I could have manipulated the crowd into a response. There was nothing I could say or do that would pull on someone’s heart-strings. All I could do is provide for them the opportunity to reflect and then get out-of-the-way. It was all between them and the Holy Spirit.
The sad thing is that this is always true, but in a 45 minute lecture/sermon I have the false perception of control.
I learned a lot today and it is definitely something I will experiment as I preach in the future.
If you were there, what did you like about the format? What did you hate? Help me process.