Summer :: Week 1.2 :: Am i an entertainer?
The real question is…What’s my job? Preacher / Teacher or entertainer?
I shared a message on day 2 of camp and I’m not sure it went to well. Let me explain…
The message / sermon… The text I was given to preach was the very last portion of Jesus’ famous the Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish builder who built their house on sand… It fell.“ (read the entire text)
You know the story, a significant story told by Jesus. But as I was studying, preparing, praying it really hit me that the “therefore, if you obey these words,” that begins the parable is referring to the content of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. So if you order our life by these words of Jesus it’s as if you have build your house, your life on a rock. It’s obvious if you think about it but I’m not sure anyone has ever connected the dots for me or directly preached this story connecting it to the content of the Sermon on the Mount. Every time I have ever heard this parable preached it’s been a stand alone, out of context teaching. So I wanted to put in context and preach it! So that’s what I did.
My method… I read the entire Sermon on the Mount. In preparation doing this took me 12 minutes. So I decided to charge it, to read it all during my teaching time. Interspersed in the reading of the text, all 3 chapters, I told some stories. Stories about people who have built their houses on a poor foundation and others who have build their house on a firm foundation. The hope was that this would seem kinda random at first and they would slowly put together the commonality of the stories and then when I read the last story, the story Jesus tells about the 2 builders it would all come together. They would realize that each part of the text contains words to built your life on.
I LOVE the idea. I think it’s a beautifully creative way to engage the text and in particular the story of the wise and foolish builder. At least I think it is.
So, the idea is great, at least on paper.
The Problem… #1. I talk to much. After each section of the text I wanted to say something, something clarifying how amazing, hard, beautiful these words of Jesus were. Yea, I talk to much. #2. I decided to read some of the text from the message version of the bible, it took a bit longer than I had planned and it didn’t flow quite as well as I would have hoped. #3. I wasn’t entertaining enough.
This brings me to my question, am I a preacher / teacher or am I an entertainer? There is a pressure to “perform” while your on a platform preaching. There is a pressure to be entertaining enough to keep peoples attention and at the same time bring content that challenges and encourage students to follow Jesus. Most of the time I embrace that challenge, hopefully in a faithful way but during a message like the one I’m speaking of, where really the text is standing on its own, simply being read for a period of time there just isn’t the entertainment factor. And it made me uncomfortable.
But really, shouldn’t the text be able to stand on it’s own? Should there be times where reading the words of Jesus is enough? I think so but for the preacher / entertainer, for me, that is uncomfortable or at least it was during this message.
I don’t want to be an entertainer! I want to be a faithful minister of the words of God. I want preach and teach the Gospel and if the imagination God stirs during my preparation time is to read the text, I want that to be enough, I want to feel comfortable simply being faithful to God’s direction.
Now I’m not Shane Claiborne who is probably paid 5 or 10 grand to speak at a youth conference and simply goes out recites The Sermon of the Mount and walk off stage. Different story. But if God called me to do that I pray I would have the courage to do it and the humility to not have to entertain.
I actually got positive feedback from everybody who i talked to about it. A student even came up to me after the message and said, "Thanks for bringing us the Word."
I probably needed that encouragement.
Thanks be to God, it's not about me.
Grace and peace erik
PS :: I've got more post about Week #1 of my summer, i'll toss it up in a day or two. PEACE