Monday, September 24, 2012

Desperate Preachers . Com?

Two years ago, I noticed that one of the sermons on my blog was getting an awful lot of traffic in one particular week. It turned out that the sermon was on the very passage recommended by the Revised Common Lectionary, and in the one week that particular page was viewed 805 times.

The peak was on the Saturday, leading me to conclude that there were some desperate preachers looking for sermon ideas (or perish the thought, a ready-made whole sermon) for their Sunday morning gathering. Surely there aren't 805 ministers and pastors who would give pre-chewed food to their congregations?

There is more to the preaching event than just transferring information, or some useful thoughts on a Bible passage. In preaching, the community of God's people is gathered in a particular place, together, to hear from God into their situation from his unchanging word. That means that, although the principles from the passage may be the same, the way they are applied and explained and introduced needs to be carefully thought for the particular context and situation.

What was written for my former suburban parish doesn't necessarily match or work in my new rural parish. And they are only 70 miles apart, let alone congregations in entirely different countries and continents!

It seemed to be a one off. Thankfully. That was, until this week. The numbers visiting my blog in a normal day have increased, but again, the numbers have been off the scale in recent days. The reason? Mark 9:30-37 was the RCL gospel, leading to over 2000 pageviews of my sermon from 2010.

To put this in context: The previous highest number of pageviews on a single day was 400 on the 13th February 2011 (when it was another flurry of preachers looking a sermon on the Transfiguration from Mark 9). This week has totally smashed that - 1072 page views on Saturday alone (more than the whole month of September 2008!).

There definitely appears to be a market for desperate preachers wanting sermons. Let's hope it's not just laziness on their part, avoiding any work and taking a ready-made article from the internet for their congregations on Sundays.

Me, I'll continue to post my sermons on the blog, following the advice of John Piper:

'And if you're going to do it for one person [researching and writing on a pastoral theme] you might as well put it on the Web and just multiply your usefulness.' (p. 141 'The Power of Words and the Wonder of God')

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