Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Delivering the Good News

When I was a young teenager I earned spending money by delivering newspapers, the Steubenville Herald Star. Rather than riding a bike I walked and delivered my papers not by throwing them onto a driveway or up on a porch but by opening storm doors and placing them between the outer and inner doors or into mail slots or under mail boxes. I took pride in providing quality service to my subscribers.

While delivering the Gospel is not the same as delivering newspapers, I think one can preach haphazardly, tossing quotes and stories like newspapers out of a car window or from a bike’s basket, not sure where they will land, hoping they will reach their destination. Or one can carefully craft the Good News and deliver it with care and precision to those in the pews. To tune up my sermon delivery, last week I attended a two day workshop on Delivering the Gospel (see page 39 of the September 22, 2009 Christian Century). It was well worth the time and expense (my time, the church’s expense).

With leadership provided by Karen DeMauro and John M. Stapleton, nine workshop participants (photo top right, minus Karen) focused on “Delivery, Delivery, and Delivery.” And boy did John and Karen deliver. Their two day workshop, held at the Marble Collegiate Church (photo bottom right) (as in Norman Vincent Peale) was one of the most intense and worthwhile continuing education events I have ever attended. It not only filled in some gaps and holes that were left over from seminary days but gave me renewed confidence in my preaching. I cannot say enough good things about the workshop.

Each workshop participant delivered a three to four minute segment from a sermon and then Karen and John critiqued our delivery. Following their observations, all the other participants then also responded. Each workshop participant received at least an hour and a half of individualized, focused attention, more than I ever received in seminary. Along the way Karen led us through various voice exercises and demonstrated numerous delivery techniques. John offered theological as well as homiletically insight. The other participants, representing Reformed, Methodist, Baptist and Episcopalian traditions, added depth and insight from their various experiences and backgrounds in the collegial learning environment.

For more information and dates of future Delivering the Gospel Workshop, contact


Suzann said...

Sounds like a wonderful workshop! Did you ever consider doing a podcast of one of your sermons and linking it to your blog? I'd very much like to hear one.

John Edward Harris said...

I have not considered doing a podcast, untilnow. To begin with I would need a quality MP3 or similar recorder. Then I would needto learn how to attach audio files. Finally, I would have to hope that someone, other than you, would really be interested in listening to my sermons. Thanks for the comment.