I was talking with my mom this week about preaching and the changes that I am trying to make in my style of preaching (extemporaneous preaching). I commented about my frustration with my sermon a few weeks back where I had WAY TOO MANY cross references and it really distracted from my preaching.
A bit of background: Mom attends a mega-church north of Denver. When we began attending there in 1967, First Christian Church of Longmont, CO was probably 250-300 in attendance. Since then they have exploded in attendance (I think they now average around 3,000-3,500). They have changed their names (now Lifebridge Christian Church…so as not to be confused with an ultra liberal church in the neighborhood [First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in nearby Boulder, CO]. They have relocated campuses and are trying to do so again. While Dale McCann was the preaching minister there all the years that I attended FCC, Rick Rusaw is the current preaching minister and has done incredible things there. My mom has been an active part of that congregation for 41 years.
Back to my topic: When I said that I felt that the scriptures were necessary, but just reading them one after the other gets a bit pedantic and trying to remember which scriptures go in which order is a memory nightmare. Mom commented that Rick often has scriptures put up on the screen that relate to what he is talking about, but that he does not mention from the pulpit. They may be cross references or just related scriptures, but they go up while he is preaching.
I don’t know…. Maybe it would work with a younger postmodern crowd. I know I would find it distracting. Last year, when Len Sweet was lecturing at George Fox Seminary here in town, he had someone positioned in the front row with a laptop hooked to the internet. And while Len lectured, Rob (a friend of mine who does home-church) Goggled words and concepts that Len was mentioning and threw them up on a screen. Fortunately there was only one that came up that was, let’s say, inappropriate for mixed company. Many in the crowd loved it. I found it horribly distracting. But I recognize that my thinking is very linear. Others don’t think so linearly (is that a word?) Kind of like I am trying to do in this blog post. Seems distracting to me…
I can’t decide if throwing up numerous scriptures that I don’t mention from the pulpit on the screen would be a helpful asset or a horrible distraction. It would absolutely take advance coordination between the projectionist and me.
I don’t know…what are your thoughts on this?