Notes from the leadership journey!

Category Archives: Preaching

2014 Bishop’s Retreat

We just returned from the 2014 Bishop’s Retreat for Our Clergy Family, which was held in Lancaster, PA. The retreat is for pastors and their families from our conference.

Tracy Radosevic, this year’s presenter, is a storyteller, and she was excellent. Tracy spoke often about, and from the perspective of, the Network of Biblical Storytellers. She said their goal in storytelling is 75% word accuracy (with the biblical text) and 95% content accuracy (the gist of the story, maintaining the integrity of the text).

Tracy told several biblical stories and also presented tips on the process of preparing to tell stories. Tracy’s storytelling was nourishing and replenishing. And her teaching provided some helpful tools for storytelling and sermon preparation.

Tracy talked specifically about storytelling (i.e., telling the biblical story), her teaching can also be applied to general sermon preparation. She talked about “MULLing the text” (MULL is an acronym for Master the text, Understand the text, Live with the story, and Link personally with the story). She offered some practical tips for each area.

I will work on incorporating MULL into my 4 Ss of Sermon Preparation, which have some similarities. I should also be able to improve the way I mark up the text during sermon preparation (see my post, Sermon Prep With iAnnotate, for my current process). And, I am especially looking forward to getting better at “mastering the text” (which does NOT mean memorizing the text).

This was the sixth retreat that Joleen, Ethan (who’s 6), and I have attended, and it was Sarah’s fifth (she’s almost 5). This was also Joleen’s and my first full year on the planning committee for the retreat.

The retreat includes four sessions—Monday evening, Tuesday morning and evening, and Wednesday morning. We like to arrive a day early for extra downtime Sunday evening, Monday morning and afternoon, in addition to the built-in free time on Tuesday afternoon. The kids enjoy child care during the four sessions, but their favorite activity is the children’s indoor water playground during free time (see photos below).

Interestingly, Tuesday was a snow day, as a major snowstorm moved through the region. Below, you can see a photo of our car halfway through the storm, and one from my ill-advised drive around town late Tuesday afternoon (the worst part was driving on secondary roads that didn’t seem to be plowed)!

All in all, it was a great event and a good few days away for our family!

“HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations”

Recently, I read the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte. The book brings together, and builds on, Nancy’s previous books, Slide:ology and Resonate, which I’ve blogged about extensively (this post includes links to the other seven posts in the series). I won’t repeat too much of the content from Resonate and Slide:ology, but…

Practice Doesn’t Make Preaching Perfect

There’s a myth that says, “Practice makes perfect.” But there’s also a fairly common rebuttal that says, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent.” Whether you are a musician, an athlete, a communicator, or whatever, just because you do something over and over doesn’t mean you’re getting better at it. You may simply be reinforcing…

Preaching With a Demonstration of the Spirit

Over the last few months, some words by the Apostle Paul have been shaping my thinking about preaching. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 … My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. I did this so that your faith might not…

Finding Your Rhythm for Sermon Preparation

I recently wrote Rethinking Sermon Preparation where I talked about the nature of sermon preparation (God works on and in the preacher first so that the preacher can help hearers take a similar journey). This post is about finding your rhythm for sermon preparation. It’s easy to fall into a rut with sermon preparation. We…

Rethinking Sermon Preparation

The area I’ve worked on the hardest in the past year is sermon preparation. It’s always a struggle to make time to prepare sermons because it’s hard work and there are plenty of other things to do! As I wrote in my post, Preaching Requires Investment, Bill Hybels has been quoted to say … Preaching…

Michael Quicke on Preaching

Seedbed posted an interview of Michael Quicke, who teaches at Northern Seminary. The interview is broken into three parts: one, two, and three. Quicke has written a couple of books on preaching that are actually still on my reading pile: 360-Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word (paperback) and 360-Degree Leadership: Preaching to Transform…

5 Challenges From Preach Better Sermons

Yesterday’s free, 4-hour online preaching conference, Preach Better Sermons, was great. It will take some time to process it all, but here are five things that resonated with me … 1. Find your own voice and be who are. It was great to see different styles among the presenters. At least two communicators (Mark Batterson…

Preaching Requires Investment

Preaching is hard work. It’s not just the act of preaching that’s hard, but all of the prep that goes into it during the days (and sometimes weeks) leading up to the preaching event. Preaching requires a lifetime of investment! Recently, I heard Bill Hybels quoted as saying … Preaching has been the single most…