Tracking with the Pastor

By Nate Powell
 
Well, I’ve been in my new role for 2 ½ months, and preached 8 sermons. It certainly has been a blast going through these core teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
 
Several of you have spoken to me to give encouragement or feedback on my sermons, which I greatly appreciate and will always welcome. Anytime you have a question, my email inbox will always be open to you. It does seem like I’ve had a few common questions regarding some of the logistics of my preaching, that I will seek to address in this post.
 
What version are you preaching from and why?
 
I answered this question in a previous post on the blog. Read up on where I’m at in terms of preaching translations. We are truly blessed that we have this wealth of translation material in the English language.
 
Why don’t you put the scriptures on the screen?
 
My plan each week is to preach expository sermons. That means we are going to open the Bible to a central text, and seek to explain the meaning of the text and its application to our lives. My preaching will typically assume a couple of things and ways that I hope the church regularly engages with the text.
 
First, I hope that you bring a print Bible. Bibles on phones or other mobile devices are great and all, but they are deficient on a few fronts. You are at the mercy of both power and data to ensure they are working. You have no ability to permanently underline and take notes around the text. Notifications on phones can provide tremendous distractions to reading and meditation. Printed scriptures truly become your own scriptures that you study, pour over and create visual memories with. And at the end of the day, as one pastor friend of mine (Mitch Coston) stated: “We spend and waste a lot of time on our phones looking at both trivial and/or unholy things.” The Bible is neither trivial nor unholy. We should treat it as the Holy, singular book that it is. It is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16-17).
 
Second, I hope that you will open that text. Underline, highlight, take notes. Look up other scripture references or write them down. This is how we can prolong our own personal study and application of a sermon throughout the week. I am seeking to push you toward these ends.
 
So, my encouragement to you is to bring your Bible, put away your phone for a few (we all need a break, don’t we?), grab a bulletin or notebook, take some notes, and become a student of the Word. One of the biggest things that Christians sometimes feel so deficient in is with regard to their knowledge and study of the Bible. I’m seeking to help you be a better student, reading and studying effectively, handling your sword properly and to great effect (Heb 4:12).
 
Why don’t you slow down the pace to help us keep up?
 
As a general rule, just note that I’m trying to be as efficient with my time in the pulpit as I can. I’m typically working with the goal of taking the content of a 45-60 minute sermon and boiling it down into 30-35 minutes. That will mean that sometimes, I will note several scripture references in short order that backup the meaning of a certain text or point. I did this last week, where I gave you about 8 different references in fairly short order under a couple of points. I don’t do this to lose or confuse you, but to simply say there is much the scripture has to say on the given topic.
 
To help in this as well, I am doing more blogging here on the church website, to ensure that some of the textual rabbits I could be chasing aren’t taking up too much time or causing most to lose interest when only a few may have questions or care to hear an explanation about a given point.
 
That being said, if you miss something, here are two things to help. First, we have posted recordings of all our sermons on the sermon audio page of the church website. This is also available in your podcasting app under “Auburn Christian Church”. Feel free to give a second listen, pausing to take notes as you need to. Second, if you ask, I will be happy to share my sermon notes with you. Just drop an email and I will share at a copy with you.
 
Why is the podium back, and where did the table go?
 
This podium on the stage gets a bit crowded on Sundays, as you sometimes see me shuffling my notes, my bible and my remote on my phone (for the slides) on the podium; but I am doing this for a specific reason. My view of preaching is that it is not so much a conversation between individuals, as it is a proclamation of what God has said and revealed to his people. It’s my desire that the equipment used on the stage would reflect that truth. I actually hope to build a bit bigger or more permanent podium/pulpit at a point, and it will help me manage the space up there better.
 
Also note that I preach manuscript, which means I write out most everything that I say. I hope that it helps me to speak clearer and more effectively. That is my goal as a communicator.
 

Thank you for checking in and reading this, and thank you for praying for me. Please continue to pray that I will manage my time wisely, study the Word effectively, and proclaim God’s truth to us clearly.