Last night I had a great time at a church I’ve visited many times before. I had about 85 minutes and decided to do an interactive message. Here are some reflections and thoughts from me, but feel free to chip in:
1. All messages should be somewhat interactive. Even if you don’t expect the listeners to say anything, good preaching will always be stirring response and comments within the listeners. Good preachers know what listeners are probably thinking and respond accordingly. In these two posts I am thinking about overt congregational participation.
2. Knowing the congregation matters. It does help to know who you’ll be preaching to when you choose to go much more interactive. A few years ago I chose to do an interactive sermon in a church that I hardly knew. I certainly was unaware of the group brought along from a nearby “home” that interacted in an entirely different way than the elderly folks who made up the rest of the congregation! Knowing them matters, them knowing you care matters just as much, but we’ll come to that issue tomorrow.
3. Knowing the content matters even more. This one is massive. As the preacher you have to know the subject and the range of potential input. Taking a comment from the crowd that changes your understanding of the text could be complicated. You get to choose how wide the net is thrown for input, but it is important that you can handle whatever may come from within that range of Bible text (and theology/history/whatever else you open yourself up to). If you are genuinely struck by new insight, great, but if you seem to be informed by everything you hear, you’ll lose their confidence!
I’ll finish this post tomorrow, but feel free to chip in with your thoughts . . .