I had the privilege of joining Preaching Today with Lawrence Aker III and Matt Woodley for a webinar last week on the topic of pivoting summer preaching series. Initially available only for members of Preaching Today, they recorded the webinar and posted in online here, where you can watch it in its entirety, as well as see the many resources shared by participants. I learned so much from everyone who participated and I hope you will as well.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Preaching Today thought it would be good to get pastors together and talk about their summer sermon series. We had a wonderful chance to chat with a few Preaching Today members about how they have or have not pivoted their summer series.
If you missed the webinar be sure to check out the video! And join Matt Woodley, Lawrence Aker III, and Matt Erickson as they discuss their summer sermon series. We also invited 4 attendees to discuss their series with us live during the webinar. (The series ideas that are discussed live are in bold below.) This video is well worth your time and will hopefully provide you with some creative ideas to help you think about your own summer series.
[Read more here]
This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a new preaching series entitled “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews.” Over the course of the next several months we will steadily walk through the entire book of Hebrews, drawing our attention to Jesus Christ and learning about the life of faith. The title of the series is drawn from the first verses of the book:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4)
The epistle known as Hebrews is one of the most unique books in the New Testament. Structured more like an extended sermon than a letter, Hebrews brings us into rich understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done in light of the Hebrew covenants and sacrificial system. As we walk through this book we want to know Christ more as our understanding grows and our faith is enriched that we might “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (12:1).
Join us for this series each weekend at “Eastbrook at Home” and consider joining a virtual discussion of the sermon each Sunday at 11 AM.
Like many other churches, this past weekend at Eastbrook we had to make a major shift in our gathering due to the concerns related to COVID-19 and coronavirus. This was accentuated by the declaration of a public health emergency in our state, and the recommendation that groups over 250 no longer meet. We switched to online service for this past weekend, but still continued our series on the message of the minor prophets, “God in the Ruins,” by looking at the prophet Habakkuk.
Habakkuk is one of the 7th century BC prophets in the Hebrew Bible, ministering near the time of Nahum, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah. Habakkuk’s prophetic message is gathered into book form in the following structure:
- Habakkuk’s first complaint and God’s answer (1:1-11)
- Habakkuk’s second complaint and God’s answer (1:12-2:20)
- a final prayer of trust and worship (3:1-19)
You can view the message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series on the minor prophets here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities to connect.
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On Monday, the team at Preaching Today invited me and a number of others to write something related to our current situation. That invitation spawned the article, “The Ministry of Preaching in the Time of COVID-19.” You can read the entire article here, but I’m including an excerpt below.
The last few weeks have seen such quick changes in the state of our nation that it is often difficult to keep up. For preachers, the context of our ministry is radically different now than it was just a weekend or two earlier. A weekend ago, I might have written some of us, but now I write with confidence that all of us are preaching differently than we ever imagined. How do we navigate these days in the preaching ministry? This question has so many answers, but let me provide some contours for considering how we approach the ministry of preaching in the time of COVID-19.
Remember the Core Message
Every day brings shifting messages in our own city, state or province, nation, and the greater world about the nature of this pandemic. With all these messages coming at us daily and hourly, it is so vital for preachers to remember the message they proclaim. Even as we pay careful attention to the guidelines offered for overall health and wellness at this time, I also want to encourage us as preachers to step back from all this messaging in order to remember our core message in Christ. Without taking time to consider the message of God’s good story in the Bible, as well as key themes of our faith that seem particularly pertinent at this time, we may lose our way, not only as preachers, but as Christians…
Pivoting Our Preaching
Even as we remember our core message, it is self-evident that we need to pivot the way we preach in these times. Let me offer three areas in which we could pivot toward new ways of preaching so that our message can both reach people and stay fresh for our present moment. In no way are these areas exhaustive, but I hope they suggest some ways we can continue with creative and vibrant preaching now…
This past weekend, I continued our series “God in the Ruins: The Message of the Minor Prophets” at Eastbrook Church by looking at the prophet Habakkuk. You can watch the message here.
I also wanted to share a five-week series I did on the book of Habakkuk in 2015 entitled “Turning to God in Troubling Times.” Each of these messages dives into topics of fear, faith, trouble, worship, and what it looks like to be a person of God in the midst of distress. I am loading the video links for each message of this series below.
Part 1 – Crying Out When God Seems Absent
Part 2 – Suffering and the Surprising Plans of God
Part 3 – Talking with God When Pain Looms Large
Part 4 – Faithfulness in a Confusing World
Part 5 – Singing the Songs of God’s Salvation