Once more with feeling (Colossians 1:1-14)

Boring alert – preacher talking boring preacher stuff, justifying self, boring, boring…

I preached Colossians 1:1-14 on Sunday night from some pretty full notes.  It was the first time I’d preached from notes and it was terrible.  I usually have full script or no script.  I think I thought I’d be more free with less written.  But instead I had enough info on the page to tie me down and at the same time I wasn’t let loose because I hadn’t thought hard enough about how to actually express it all.

Well the recording failed on Sunday night so I recorded my sermon repeat at Wednesday communion this morning.  No notes at all this morning.  Much better.

Colossians 1:1-14 (23 mins)

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Posted on by Glen in preaching, sermons

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

0 Responses to Once more with feeling (Colossians 1:1-14)

  1. Anonymous

    I’m a big fan of brief notes (i.e. not a script but headlines).

    I find that I need to be able to see the *structure* of the talk/sermon and brief notes allow this in a way that a full script doesn’t.

    It’s possible to think hard enough about how you want to express the ideas without necessarily drafting it all out as a written script. (Apparently the Gettysburg Address was only written down on paper on the morning it had been delivered – but Lincoln had been rehearsing it in his head (and, I guess, out loud) many times before.)

  2. Marc Lloyd

    Interesting-to this boring preacher at least!

  3. Si

    A script allows you to say stuff in a planned and carefully structured way. It allows God to really work in the time you have doing prep, but can stifle mid-preaching nudges of the Spirit. Contrary to the fairly popular belief (less common in conservative circles), God can guide the way he wants to speak in the sermon as you prep it. The Spirit can give those nudges a couple of days in advance as you write the manuscript, just as he can nudge you as you are preaching. That doesn’t mean be closed to nudges during and read a script word-for-word, but that spontaneity doesn’t equal God taking more than a planned thing.

    No script means you ought to know what you are going to say and how your are going to say it – otherwise there’s way too much potential to speak for longer than planned, waffle, neglect stuff and so on.

    Notes can either be the best of both worlds (allowing spontaneity, but keeping structure), or the worst of both worlds (allowing waffling, exposing a lack of planning how to say stuff, but stopping off-piste stuff that needs to be heard).

    I’ve done short talks, presentations and seminars off different methods – I find that notes really aren’t my cup of tea – I either need a serious amount of practise to know what to say or I’m staring at the notes, not the people, plus trying to work out what I’m going to say. No script means I have nothing to look at, other than those I’m talking to, which is great, but I still have the don’t know quite what to say problem, where either I waffle or neglect stuff or both. With a script, I tend to look at it and nothing much else, but I make much more sense. I’m not sure which is better, but I know that I struggle with partial notes (even if they are just mental notes) more than with a script or without one.

    I guess it’s down to different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities and stuff as to what to use.

  4. theoldadam

    Isn’t it great that the Word of God will make it’s own way, and does not rely on the delivery, or wit, or winsomness of the preacher?

  5. Anonymous

    Hi TheOldAdam,

    I agree.

    BUT can I ask you what you make of 1 Corinthians 14:7-9 and whether this can be applied to the clarity of the preacher’s delivery?

    As verse 8 says: “Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”

    One can debate the exact context of 1 Corinthians 14, but (putting it at its lowest) I think it is still something to bear in mind on the issue of the importance of clear “delivery” (for want of a better word).

    And, sorry, I realise you’re probably not denying that at all, it’s just that matters of delivery are sometimes side-lined as unimportant.

  6. theoldadam

    The preacher should always do his/her best to make clear the Word of God.

    But the Word is strong. It will do what it will do (often when we believe we have failed delivering it).

    But you are right. We should not approach it lightly.

  7. Bror Erickson

    I think sermons are better spoken than read. The best book I have raead on this is “Homiletics” by M. Reu. Worth the read, very worth the read. He brings out that reading sermons is a new tradition and has stifled preaching. It was unknown to Luther and other reformers.
    And the word homily comes from the greek word for conversation which is what the first sermons of the early church were, conversations.

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