Posts Tagged 'small church'

Preaching Schedule for 2015

Every year in the fall, I try to get away and prepare for the upcoming material that we, as a church congregation, will be learning. I try to select the texts from which I’ll preach, read through them, and come up with basic themes which will guide my preparation time in the coming year.

Every other year, the idea was to submit to the discipline of using the Revised Common Lectionary, as a way to ensure that our congregation isn’t just studying texts that are *my* personal favorites. The Lectionary texts are used all over the world, and it’s always a bit of a challenge to read through them all, and seek guidance on what we’ll study together as a church body.

If you’re really interested, you can go to The Revised Common Lectionary at Vanderbilt to see what texts we’ll be using for the particular day.

Here are the themes and texts we’ll be using in 2015:

11/30/14   Shaped By A Savior: Gifted with Grace   Isa. 64:1-9   1 Cor. 1:3-9
12/07/14   Shaped By A Savior: Holy in the Meantime   Isa. 40:1-11   2 Pet. 3:8-15a
12/14/14   Shaped By A Savior: Practical Sanctification   Isa. 61:1-4, 8-11   1 Th. 5:16-24
12/21/14   Shaped By A Savior: Conduits of Glory   2Sam. 7:1-11, 16   Rom. 16:25-27
12/28/14   Shaped By A Savior: Adopted Royalty   Isa. 61:10-62:3   Gal. 4:4-7
01/04/15   Shaped By A Savior: Toolkit of Grace   Jer. 31:7-14/Sirach 24:1-12   Eph. 1:3-14
01/11/15   Shaped By A Savior: Hovering of the Holy Spirit   Gen. 1:1-5   Acts 19:1-7
01/18/15   Shaped By A Savior: Body Honor   1Sam. 3:1-10, (11-20)   1 Cor. 6:12-20
01/25/15   Shaped By A Savior: Making Hay While The Sun Shines   Jonah 3:1-5, 10   1 Cor. 7:29-31
02/01/15   Shaped By A Savior: Navigating Your Freedom   Deut. 18:15-20   1 Cor. 8:1-13
02/08/15   Shaped By A Savior: Winning Others In Context   Isa. 40:21-31   1 Cor. 9:16-23
02/15/15   PULPIT SUPPLY   2Ki. 5:1-14   1 Cor. 9:24-27
02/22/15   Covenant Concepts ~ Noah: God Will Remember   Gen. 9:8-17   1 Pet. 3:18-22
03/01/15   Covenant Concepts ~ Abraham: God Will Rename   Gen. 17:1-7, 15-16   Rom. 4:13-25
03/08/15   Covenant Concepts ~ Moses: God Expects Righteousness   Ex. 20:1-17   1 Cor. 1:18-25
03/15/15   Covenant Concepts ~ Israel: God Rescues from Rebellion   Num. 21:4-9   Eph. 2:1-10
03/22/15   Covenant Concepts ~ Jer.: God Emphasizes Relationship   Jer. 31:31-34   Heb. 5:5-10
03/29/15   Covenant Concepts ~ Congregation: Responds in Rejoicing   Isa. 50:4-9a   John 12:12-16
04/05/15   Up From The Grave He Arose!   Isa. 25:6-9   John 20:19-31
04/12/15   Walking in Two Worlds: Where Do You Walk   Psa. 133   1Jn. 1:1-2:2
04/19/15   Walking in Two Worlds: Chipping Away   Psa. 4   1Jn. 3:1-7
04/26/15   Walking in Two Worlds: Love in Action   Psa. 23   1Jn. 3:16-24
05/03/15   PULPIT SUPPLY   PNWNACCC meeting in Anchorage, AK   1Jn. 4:7-21
05/10/15   Walking in Two Worlds: Kingdom or Republic?   Psa. 98   1Jn. 5:1-6
05/17/15   Walking in Two Worlds: Assurance Policy   Psa. 1   1Jn. 5:9-13
05/24/15   Birthday Presence   Ez. 37:24-28   Rom. 8:22-27
05/31/15   God in Three Persons: A service for Trinity Sunday   Job 38:1-7   Luke 9:18-26
06/07/15   The Gospel Challenge ~ Get Your House In Order   Gen. 3:8-15 Psa. 130   Mark 3:20-35
06/14/15   The Gospel Challenge ~ Use GMO Seed   Ez. 17:22-24   Mark 4:26-34
06/21/15   PULPIT SUPPLY   1Sam. 17:57-18:5, 18:10-16   Mark 4:35-41
06/28/15   The Gospel Challenge ~ Have Faith in the Crowd   Lam. 3:22-33   Mark 5:21-43
07/05/15   The Gospel Challenge ~ Live the Verb, Not the Title   Ez. 2:1-5   Mark 6:1-13
07/12/15   The Gospel Challenge ~ The Price of Mistaken Identity   Amos 7:7-15   Mark 6:14-29
07/19/15   The Gospel Challenge ~ Feed The Crowd   Jer. 23:1-6   Mark 6:30-34
07/26/15   Bread From Heaven: Pointing to the Prophet   2Ki. 4:42-44   John 6:1-21
08/02/15   Bread From Heaven: Feeding on the Food from God   Ex. 16:2-4, 9-15   John 6:24-35
08/09/15   Bread From Heaven: Breaking Down the Bread of Life   1Ki. 19:4-8   John 6:41-51
08/16/15   Bread From Heaven: Sustenance of the Savior   Prov. 9:1-6   John 6:51-58
08/23/15   PULPIT SUPPLY   Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18   John 6:56-69
08/30/15   Practical Christianity: From the Ear to the Hand   Deut. 4:1-2, 6-9   James 1:17-27
09/06/15   Practical Christianity: Who Chooses The Poor   Isa. 35:4-7a   James 2:1-10
09/13/15   Practical Christianity: The Most Dangerous Church Member   Isa. 50:4-9a   James 3:1-12
09/20/15   Practical Christianity: Top Shelf, Good Stuff   Jer. 11:18-20   James 3:13-4:3
09/27/15   Practical Christianity: Prescription: Prayer!   Num. 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29   James 5:13-20
10/04/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Founder of Salvation   Gen. 2:18-24   Heb. 2:5-12
10/11/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Approachable Throne   Amos 5:6-7, 10-15   Heb. 4:12-16
10/18/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Great High Priest   Isa. 53:4-12   Heb. 5:1-10
10/25/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Perfect Go-Between   Jer. 31:7-9   Heb. 7:23-28
11/01/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Power of the Blood   Deut. 6:1-9   Heb. 9:11-14
11/08/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Real Mercy Seat   1Ki. 17:8-16   Heb. 9:24-28
11/15/15   Highlights from Heb. : The Full Assurance of Faith   Dan. 12:1-3   Heb. 10:11-14
11/22/15   The Ancient of Days Today   Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14   John 18:33-37

I hope that’s helpful to you as you prepare to study God’s word!
KFJ – Ed

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Thoughts on the NACCC

This is a portion of a letter that I wrote to another church; they are considering becoming a part of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, the group to which my congregation belongs. I thought that some of my readers might enjoy these thoughts about the NA…
To give you a bit of background on my personal journey: I wasn’t raised with any kind of faith, became a follower of Jesus when I was 17, and got involved with various different groups of Christians, each contributing something to my development as a follower of Christ.
 
1) the Christian /Church of Christ emphasized living out their faith in response to the Word. 
2) the Foursquare church emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit. 
3) the Swedish Baptist church taught me to work through the text of Scripture line-by-line.
4) the Evangelical Free church taught me the importance of family in faith formation.
5) the Church of God, Anderson taught me the perils of power as a substitute for obedience.
6) the Presbyterian church showed me that a purposeful, thoughtful Christian life was possible.
7) the NACCC brought me full circle, reinforcing Jesus as the Head of the Church.
 
What I’ve learned about the NACCC is that the use of power and authority isn’t a preferred method to be the people of God. 
 
Our congregation was originally a German Congregational church (that denomination used to be around about 100 years ago), and they placed great emphasis on personal piety, communal experience of faith, and practical service to Christ. Then, in the 1950’s when the UCC was started, we joined that group. However, we discovered that over time, the UCC placed more and more emphasis on hierarchical structure, and the controls that go with it (especially in regards to what was considered to be “acceptable theology”). That was not at all who we are as a church; and so, our congregation left the UCC in 2003.
 
The NACCC is an association of fellowship, not an organization of control. We have churches in our national fellowship who are far more theologically liberal than we are… and we have churches that are much more conservative. Where we stand on various issues is *not* the determining factor of our organization. We come together to fellowship with one another as we each follow Christ as the Head of the church. There is no denominational control, no edicts from on high, no memos from the Central Office that tell us what we must do, or how we must do it.
 
This allows our little congregation to focus on its mission of following Jesus the best way it knows how, and we still can get together with other churches who are doing the same thing if not in the same way.
 
Personally, I consider it a strength when I’m able to be in a room with 100 other ministers, knowing full well that I’d probably disagree with them on various points of doctrine– but still having sweet fellowship because we recognize the Lord is in our midst, and it is the Spirit which allows us to experience the bond of unity while living with methods of diversity.
 
To close — I’m a BIG fan of the NACCC. It’s not restrictive on in matters of theology (we don’t make our ministers sign theological creeds like the CCCC), and it’s not dictative on matters of social conscience (like the “still speaking” campaign of the UCC). At the risk of sounding like a fairy tale, it’s “just right”.
 
Grace and peace to you as you seek to follow the Lord’s leading!
 
Keep Following Jesus,
Ed

Preaching Schedule for 2013

One of the things I’ve learned as a solo pastor is the need to plan ahead when it’s possible. For those of you who have known me for years, you’re probably laughing out loud right now, or you’re trying to recover from shock. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered that if I plan out my preaching schedule in advance, I’m better equipped to deal with any pastoral emergencies that might arise.

Wonder of wonder; miracle of miracles! The administration of ministry frees me to do the interaction of ministry!

For the past two years, I’ve plotted out the preaching schedule based on book studies, with the very occasional topical study thrown in. This year, I thought I’d push myself a bit, and submit to the discipline of preaching the Revised Common Lectionary. The Lectionary is simply a collection of Scriptures that, over a three-year course, cover the Bible. Our church already uses some of its forms – we have an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and our call to worship is based in the Psalms, so we have quite a lot of Scripture even before we get to the sermon!

This coming year (Year A, in the RCL), I thought I’d use the Lectionary to select the texts themselves. I went away for a couple of days on a study retreat, and read through the year’s worth of texts, and looked for patterns and themes. I then took the ideas that I’d found, and put them into a schedule.

If you’re really interested, you can go to The Revised Common Lectionary at Vanderbilt to see what texts we’ll be using for the particular day.

12/02/12   Let Your Love Grow
12/09/12   Let Your Love Know
12/16/12   Let Your Love Flow
12/23/12   Let His Love Bestow
12/24/12   Christmas Eve Service
12/30/12   Our Swaddling Clothes
01/06/13   The Mystery of Epiphany
01/13/13   The Indwelling Epiphany
01/20/13   The Equipping Epiphany
01/27/13   The Efficiency of Epiphany
02/03/13   Maturity in Epiphany
02/10/13   The Glory of Epiphany
02/13/13   Tenebrae – Service of Shadows
02/17/13   Preparing Our Hearts with the Word
02/24/13   Preparing Our Lives with the Pattern
03/03/13   Preparing Our Minds For Battle
03/10/13   Preparing Our Relationships for Reconciliation
03/17/13   Preparing Our Lives For the Finish Line
03/24/13   Preparing Our Attitudes For Surrender
03/28/13   Tenebrae – Service of Shadows
03/31/13   Fully Alive!
04/07/13   Easter People: Tell The Truth!
04/14/13   Easter People: Deliver The Decree
04/21/13   Easter People: Deal with the Dead
04/28/13   Easter People: Watch for the Work
05/05/13   Easter People: Hear the Macedonian Call
05/12/13   Easter People: Invite Others to the Party
05/19/13   PULPIT SUPPLY
05/26/13   The Cost of Pentecost: Glory & Agony
06/2/13   The Cost of Pentecost: Living With Confusion
06/9/13   The Cost of Pentecost: Carrying Christ
06/16/13   The Cost of Pentecost: Life On Our Own Terms
06/23/13   PULPIT SUPPLY
06/30/13   PULPIT SUPPLY
07/7/13   The Cost of Pentecost: Empty Arms
07/14/13   Concepts from Colossians: Knowing God’s Will
07/21/13   PULPIT SUPPLY
07/28/13   Concepts from Colossians: Building In Two Directions
08/4/13   Concepts from Colossians: Killing the Old Man
08/11/13   The Substance of Faith
08/18/13   The Actions of Faith
08/25/13   The Presence of Faith
09/8/13   Personal Mail For Philemon
09/14/13   Powerful Meaning For Philosophers
09/15/13   Our Lord Relents
09/22/13   Our Lord Listens
09/29/13   Our Lord Saves
10/6/13   Our Lord Cares
10/13/13   Our Lord Responds
10/20/13   Our Lord Watches
10/27/13   Reformation Sunday
11/3/13   Giver Of Understanding
11/10/13   Giver Of Glory
11/17/13   Giver Of Wisdom
11/24/13   Giver of Rescue

Pastor Ed Backell

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