September 2017 Preaching Themes

How Community Can Change Your Life

i-am-change-logoI’m a stronger preacher when I have a theme to capture my attention and energy.  This month I’m working on the power of community to change our lives.  Creating vibrant church and local communities is more vital than ever as we feel our national sense of purpose shredded icy our politics.  I believe activism, but this work alone will not restore our hope for the future.  If we are not creating churches where we welcome people, feed, bless, heal and empower the flock; then what exactly are we working towards in our activism?

Brian McLaren wrote a powerful piece in Time Magazine recently “The Alt-Right Has Created Alt-Christianity” and said,

The message I will bring to faith leaders around our nation is both urgent and clear: Aristotle was right. Nature indeed abhors a vacuum. If we don’t provide emerging generations with genuine identity, community and purpose through robust and vibrant spiritual communities, somebody else will do so. If good religion slumbers and stagnates, bad religion is the alternative.

My plan is to preach three community-building sermons about trust, grace and being clear about what we really want.  Take a look below.

September 10

Why You Will Never Succeed at Community Unless You do This                                     Matthew 18: 15-20

My idea for this week is to preach about how we create a healthy, honest and positive culture in the life of the church community.  Matthew gives some practical ideas for dealing with interpersonal conflict, as well as a deeper theological truth that Christ works in and through the community life.  I plan to flesh out the management advice:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Make all the plans and great ideas you want.  Unless we are dealing with the organizational culture, creating bonds of trust and mutual respect, we are not going to get anywhere.

You can also look at a sermon I preaching three years ago that focused on the Rabbinical practice of binding and loosening.

September 17

65d06-6a00d8346cc95f53ef01b8d06a56eb970c-piWhat Would the World Be Like Without Forgiveness?                                                    Matthew 18:21-35

The title says it all.  Preach about the moments where you forgave, then imagine what would have happened if you had not done so.  Three years ago I preached on the theme “How Many Times?”

September 24

The Insider’s Guide to Volunteering                                                                                        Matthew 20:1-16

September is “Make a Difference” month at First Churches and we are matching volunteers with new team assignments in a new organizational structure.  It is both freeing and perplexing to go through this change.  It changes many leadership roles, which can feel like a threat to some people.  I plan to work with the labor’s of the vineyard parable, and think about what we expect from our work at church.  Isn’t the promise of abundant life as we serve God enough?  Why do we settle for lesser things by wanting praise, status, power or other ways of feeding ego through our work?

Three years ago my sermon title was “The Gratitude Economy.”

I hope this brief sample of sermon ideas is helpful to you.  Leave me a comment if you found one of these helpful.  I attempt to post sermons as I get them done on Thursdays, but you never know when it will all change!  If you would like an email update for when I post, sign up for me email list below this article or on the side bar.  I won’t spam you, sell your email, and I don’t have any products.  I’m learning to use technology to connect with more preachers and leaders like you.

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