Craft of Preaching

The Power of a Good Question

Dear Working Preacher,

I tend to think that our best sermons arise from our questions. Do you know what I mean? It’s often the really challenging

Courage to Follow, Courage to Lead

Few people thrive on conflict. Yet leadership can bring us face to face with it in unexpected moments. What motivates normal people to overcome fear when

The Year of Matthew or When Small Birds Return

Without small birds, the world would be very quiet. In fact, it would hardly make a sound. In January the northern hemisphere is locked in silence, and

Easter Courage

Dear Working Preacher,

There are moments when it feels like Matthew is almost working at cross purposes. On the one hand, the message delivered by the

The Footwasher’s Hall of Fame

I hate being wrong.

I really hate being wrong in public.

I really, really hate being the one to prove myself wrong in public. Unfortunately, that is

Crowd-Sourced Preaching

Preachers, when preparing to preach, have been getting help and insights from other sources almost from the beginning -- from the Biblical text itself,

The Question of the Day

Dear Working Preacher,

A few years ago I was visiting a congregation in downtown Washington, D.C. on Palm Sunday. It gathers for worship in a historic

Present-tense Salvation

Dear Working Preacher,

Do we ask too little of our people?

I ask that question with no small amount of trepidation. The churches of the Reformation,

Identity Theft, Part 2

Dear Working Preacher,

Our word “Lent,” as you know, comes from the German and Dutch words for spring ( Lenz and Lente ) which themselves derive

Easter Green

In 1970, in the midst of the Vietnam War, when V-8 engines ruled, gas mileage was low, industrial pollution hovered over most American cities, the first

Memory Aid

If Christian traditions exist to help us remember things that should never be forgotten, such as the grace of God, the life and passion of Christ, the

Leaving It All Behind

Dear Working Preacher,

This is a story of freedom, even transformation. Not, however -- and as far too many interpreters assume -- from a life of immorality

Lent in Jerusalem: Beyond the Palm Parade

Several weeks ago, Rolf Jacobson wrote helpfully about the re-imagination of Lent; rather than employing the tired language of a “Lenten Journey,”

Spirit Freedom

Dear Working Preacher,

Something’s gotta change. We all know that. Patterns of congregational attendance and membership have declined for decades

An Unexpected Glimpse of God's Promise

For those of us who preach, flying on airplanes is risky business. I know of only one pastor who sees flying as mission work. The rest of us huddle in