Most Sundays I turn up at a church somewhere and lead worship. Most of the time the people there know I’m coming.
Leading worship is something I enjoy but it’s also something I feel the responsibility of. Being the person responsible for bringing together corporate worship, often for a group of people you don’t know very well, can be difficult and challenging.
I remember going to the USA in October 2001 to meet with some people from the Presbyterian Church USA. One of my friends had spent some time in New York and told us to go and meet with the people at Madison Ave and at 5th Avenue Presbyterian Churches.
Both have large congregations, but then they are in the middle of one of the busiest pieces of real estate on the planet. When I asked ‘why are you busy?’ everyone in both churches we met said ‘the preaching’.
I know that church isn’t about entertainment but the difference between good preaching and poor preaching is enough to put me off a church. I wonder how many of us realise the effect our words have on the people who hear? And how our role affects us? I also wonder how much training, time and practice those charged with saying something each week get?
I know that some weeks people have told me that the sermon has inspired them. I also know that there are weeks when people have been left cold. There have been times when I’ve edited something to soften it, to tone it down, because I was scared what people would think or say.
I think Rob Bell ‘gets it’. Do you?