Peter Scazzero, a pastor in New York, asks 10 questions of preachers in an article at Preaching Today, and they just may apply to other vocations and professions as well with some slight nuance. See if any of these speak to you, your life. I’ve included a sentence from the article along with the question:
- Am I grounded in my own contemplation of God? Quoting Benard of Clairvaux under this question, “You don’t have the walk with God that sustained the weight of responsibility that you’re carrying and I fear for your soul.”
- Am I centered in Christ? When we’re not centered in Christ, we end up preaching out of a reflected self—finding who we are from other people rather than who we are in God.
- Am I allowing the text to intersect with my family of origin? Our family system defines us far more than we think it does.
- Am I preaching out of my vulnerability and weakness? The truth is that we’re as weak and broken and vulnerable as anyone in our congregations.
- Am I allowing the text to transform me? This sounds simple but it isn’t.
- Am I surrendering to Christ’s process of birth, death, resurrection, and ascension? This process can’t be forced or controlled.
- Am I making time to craft clear application? It is not something you do at the last minute.
- Am I thinking through the complexities and nuances of my topic and audience? It takes sensitivity and empathy for how complicated human life is.
- Am I doing exegesis in community? But I always try to have at least one other person that I can talk to…
- Am I connecting the message to our long-term formation? I try to connect people creatively in ways that sheer speaking can’t.
I think all of these are relevant for ministers, even ministers who aren’t preaching regularly. But these questions can be just as anchoring for people who work in other areas. Peter’s post is full, and if these questions interest you, do read the entire article here.
Number 7 should be engraved in every lpastor’sdesk. Or anyone who is responsible for working with people. Be prepared, and be well prepared.
Good point, Dkzody, and one that is easily overlooked the longer we work at something. We may get too good to feel like preparation is necessary.