I have a soft spot in my heart for small congregations, congregations of any size in transition, and churches whose isolation and resources make it difficult to field an “emergency fill-in” pastor, much less an interim or called pastor. That’s one reason I compile hymn suggestions and write intercessory prayers, even though they are widely used by congregations of all sizes and staffing. Churches without a regular pastoral presence have enough to do without crafting prayers, selecting hymns to go with the appointed tests… or figuring out how the Word will be faithfully preached every week. That’s what I want to talk about now.
Yes, there are sermon resources online. They’re hit and miss. They may have great illustrations but lack theological “meat”. They may be unorthodox, at odds with classic Lutheran doctrine, or overly pedantic. The Board of Lutheran CORE hopes to provide a data base of solid, biblically faithful, and doctrinally orthodox sermons for congregations to download when the need arises. Maybe they’re house churches or are facing a long vacancy with few prospects for interim pastoral leadership. Don Brandt and his brilliant Congregations in Transition (CiT) initiative helps address some of the challenges such churches face. Or maybe the pastor took ill on a Saturday night and a supply preacher isn’t available. It’d be a blessing for them to have one place to search for good sermons to use: by Scripture, day in the church year, or topic.
So this is a call for pastors to help out congregations in such situations. I want your sermons! Please email them to email@example.com.
Here are some basic criteria:
- When you submit a sermon, make a note at the beginning as to the main Scripture(s) referenced; the day in the church year/lectionary for which it is appropriate; and, if applicable, the general topic. That way we can cross reference sermons so they can be searched in several ways.
- Select sermons that you’d entrust to a layperson in your own congregation to preach if you couldn’t be there.
- No “First-person” sermons. They’re too unique to you.
- Similarly, be careful about mentioning situations or people that may be specific to your own congregation and difficult to modify to be of more general use. If a person’s situation, however, may be more universally shared, please change names to protect the innocent!
- Avoid using sermons that feature time-sensitive topics or express specific personal political beliefs. They don’t transport (or age) well.
- Sermons should be full manuscripts, not notes, lists, or talking points. Please check for, and correct, errors in grammar and spelling!
- If possible, sermons should take under 15 minutes to preach. Someone else will be using your words, style, and thoughts. That’s harder (mentally and physically), than using their own.
- I will edit very lightly: Grammar, spelling, factual errors, or the stray name of a parishioner (for privacy’s sake). If I think any other edits need to be made, I will ask your permission.
- Please don’t have your feelings hurt if a sermon doesn’t appear online. It may be a time factor and it’ll show up later. If I think a sermon is simply not suitable for use as per the criteria I’ve listed, I may ask you to either modify it or withdraw it. It does not mean I think it’s a bad sermon or you’re a bad preacher!
This is going to take some time to compile, organize, and put online. You can be selecting and submitting topical sermons immediately, as well as sermons from later in Cycle B (2nd half of Pentecost, year of Mark). But also start setting aside, editing, and submitting sermons that can be used in Cycle C (Year of Luke). I will try to give folks a heads-up when more contributions are needed. Again, please send stuff as Word documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.