Not that I have been different people or that I am merely acting a part.
It’s just that different series demand distinct aspects of the pastoral calling. This may be old news to you, but in my recent self-reflections, it’s the first time I’ve been able to put language to it.
For example . . .
In the Home series my role was to be the leader of a movement. With a little bit of prophet mixed in — if you remember the seat-squirming sermons on the ways Christian men have contributed to the rise in domestic sex trafficking, you know what I mean. To see how that particular series and the movement it inspired turned out, check here.
For Constant Contact, the messages took on more of a pastoral role. After being urged to give sacrificially to the Home campaign, the people of the church needed some TLC. And some practical steps towards increasing their union with God through prayer and quiet.
Next came Journey Of Stones. There, my role was simultaneously keeper of the calendar and preserver of tradition. Those may sound like odd roles for a church like Good Shepherd, but we designed that series to walk us together on a path through Lent and to the Holy Weekend.
After Easter, we tracked with Jonah during Man On The Run. This is my favorite one so far, and I would say I had two primary roles: evangelist and prophet. Jonah offers much material to reinforce our “full color” nature (prophetic role) as well as some clear opportunities to invite people to salvation (evangelist role). So we did both.
Now it’s Old School. As the name implies, my role here is that of teacher. Each week contains some history, some geography, some theology, and even some homework. I certainly was not expecting a collective yawn in response, but the enthusiasm with which the people of the church have approached Old School has taken me by pleasant surprise.
And this subject is on my mind because I’m working hard on the next series — to be called The Storm Before The Calm. In that one, the nature and direction of the messages will pivot dramatically from Old School and I’ll be all about offering peace, serenity, and hope.
In other words, I’ll be preaching like a pastor all over again.
The categories I’ve described aren’t exclusive. The Jonah series, for example, had quite a bit of teaching in it — many of you still come to me to talk about the Ninevites as “Dead Head Displayers.”
Nevertheless, the types of series a church has and the role the preacher assumes in them is worthy of planning, prayer, and conversation.