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Transforming Preaching June 25, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Bible, Youth Work.
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I have always enjoyed the stuff that Jonny Baker writes about Alternative Worship. I had been doing stuff with teenagers for 10 years before I discovereed a label for it. Others have also picked up on this and Scripture Union have a whole series of books in their Multi-Sensory… series

But I have also had two parallel feelings about the movement.

a) It’s come out of dissatisfaction  with the current practices of church. I would feel more comfortable if it was driven by a clear missiology

b) It has focussed on individuals or small groups rather than transforming existing practices (hence the term alternative).

So it was interesting to receive the latest Grove booklet from Jonny on preaching. It does seem as if most of the book is not about preaching at all. There are great examples of interactive activities and worship gatherings and a few nuggets for sermons. Perhaps what is missing at the start is a definition of preaching since most of the time we hear preaching and think sermons/talks. This is all hinted at in the book without being explicit.

The key feature for me is that our goal is surely that we want people to have space to encounter the living God. It is that encounter that transforms not our clever activities. But choosing activities that allow the space for that encounter is a significant tool. That’s where the grove booklet hits the nail on the head. I have recently been involved with two books focussed on that from a ‘Using the Bible’ perspective – check them out

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So this weekend where will our youth work allow the space for life transforming encounters with God? Worth reflecting on that as we sit down to plan.