Friday, September 29, 2006

Interview part three

3. What advice do you have for visiting preachers, especially seminarians, on how to be good guests in another church's pulpit? What are the best ways to prepare for a visiting preaching assignment?

Maybe the best summary is in the three ideas of attitude, readiness, and appreciation.

Visiting preachers need to have an attitude of ministry-mindedness; you're not there primarily for your benefit, so the ideas of preaching experience, theological agenda, or money should not be your focus.  Instead, focus on meeting the needs (felt and otherwise) of your temporary congregation: if there is a particular event or struggle that needs to be addressed, cover it if you can.

Visiting preachers should be ready-- on time to preach, ready to pray (the leadership should want to pray with you before you preach), ready to lead (more than just preaching, but leading songs and other parts of worship too), and ready to be challenged-- whether through a congregant whose toes got stepped on in the sermon or through a companion who will offer some honest critique.

And visiting preachers should show appreciation.  Whether it feels that way or not, what they have the opportunity to do is an honor and a privilege.  They need to appreciate the chance for ministry and for the hospitality shown to them-- and in so doing they will be all the more appreciated.

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