This is a new series looking at the various Thoughtworks offerings in terms of curriculum you can run in your congregations. What is exciting is that there are many ways this material can be run, what we present on the Thoughtworks website is simply a guide to running the material as either a mentoring exercise with someone you are equipping to lead or with a small group who simply want to know more about the Christian life.
Kingdom Encounters - Year OnePreparing a Message
A few years back Don Rousu sent me this teaching, I think it was on tapes even! He does a great presentation and the one big message is that every good sermon should be centered around one clear thought. Sounds simple but unfortunately it is not what is typically heard from pulpits around the world. And unfortunately I'm certain I've added to the chaos that is contemporary preaching.
Preaching is a serious part of Christian worship. This kicks off the Kingdom Encounters material because for many people it is the proclamation of the Kingdom that becomes the first clear encounter they have with God. Not that the message is somehow divine - but it can create the place of encounter with God. Paul underscores the historical importance of preaching when he asks "how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?" (Romans 10:14c) The context of this passage is that the preaching of God's Good News (aka the word of Christ in the NRSV) enables people to believe and be saved! If this is so important than I am convinced it is worth spending time learning how to do it better.
About a dozen or so years ago I found myself in a classroom training to be a professional corporate trainer. I actually had a teaching background (college) and years of preaching/teaching experience. But as the classes unfolded I found myself wishing I had sat in that chair years earlier. It was so helpful that I've since developed a Preaching and Teaching workshop that I have had the privilege of delivering for Vineyards in Ottawa, Pembroke and Sarnia. I'm sold on the need to develop this skill and I'm also sold on the idea that almost everyone can preach and teach competently.
The course that Don has put together includes a text, Design for Preaching, H. Grady Davis; Don's course notes which you can use to structure your mentoring time; and, as always, a final assignment which can be completed for a Thoughtworks certificate (contact your regional Thoughtworks representative for details on how this works.)
If you have folks wanting to lead small groups, preach in worship gatherings or just understand more about the role of preaching in Christian worship - this is a great course to start with. Maybe you, as a teaching pastor, want to know how to hone your craft and clearly articulate the goodness of our God, this is the course to start with.
May signs and wonders follow our preaching of Christ's word!