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2007 National Leadership Conference - Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In my last post regarding the National Leadership Conference I wrote about the Panel Discussion that was held on Friday morning.

As I mentioned in the last post, the members of the Panel were some of the General Session speakers. Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Kevin Bauder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN) , Pastor Ron Jones of Faith Baptist Church of Sellersville, and Pastor Danny Brooks of Heritage Bible Church of Greer, South Carolina. Dr. Sam Harbin, conference co-ordinator and President of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary served as the moderator and questioner for the Panel Discussion.

A question was asked near the end of the Panel Discussion that I wanted to highlight as its own separate post.

Dr. Harbin asked the panelist (specifically addressing the three Senior Pastors - Pastor Brooks, Pastor Jordan, and Pastor Doran) about what kind of schedule they have on a typical week and what kind of planning do they do.

Over the last year or so, I have heard similar questions asked of a number of men and the responses have been interesting to me. For instance, Jason Janz has asked this question in some of his interviews at SharperIron. It has been interesting to me to hear some of the answers. For instance, I was surprised to hear from the interview that he did with Dr. Mark Minnick that he does much of his preparation for Sunday night on Sunday afternoon. (Having sat under many of those Sunday night messages when I attended Mt. Calvary, I would never have guessed that these messages could have been completed in the time between Sunday morning and Sunday evening.)

Pastor Dan Brooks commented that one of the great things about expository preaching is that you know what you are going to be preaching next week. He also commented that he tends to block out his mornings for study. He also commented that a good secretary who can keep away unnecessary interruptions is a great help.

Pastor Jordan also commented that he is also a firm believer of expository preaching and that to do this well will take work and time and times of significant effort. He also indicated that if you believe that it is important, you will get it done - you will find a way. He also comments that he likes to have a block of significant time at the beginning and again at the end of the week for study.

Pastor Doran then asked the question that I was waiting for - what is a typical week? The reality is that those animals don’t tend to exist. He did comment that with planning there is an ideal that is different than reality.

Dr. Doran also made a comment that I had not thought about previously. He said that he started some time ago to think in steps or stages of sermon development. While you may not have the time you need for extended study, you can often do sections of sermon preparation in smaller sections of time. For instance, he said that you can identify the theme of a passage anywhere you have a Bible. I have occasionally found myself doing this, but not intentionally. (In other words, I have found myself studying out particular terms in what I knew was going to be a limited amount of time or what became a limited amount of time.) I think the idea of thinking of this preparation in stages can be especially helpful in situations when you recognize that your study time is going to be spread out rather than concentrated in a particular week.

He also commented that he tends to work in three Sunday segments. If I understood him properly, this would indicate that three weeks before the message he is working on the theme of a passage. Two weeks before the message his is working through interpretational issues. The last week before the message he is pulling together the sermon homiletically.

Dr. Bauder, who does not currently Pastor, has been a Pastor previously and he added some thoughts as well. After commenting that he never had such a large congregation as the other Pastors on the panel (he said that he never had a big church like Calvary where this many people can fall asleep all at once), he did address the issue that a lot of guys are leaving the seminaries and are expecting a larger staff and a larger church when this will not be the reality for most.

Dr. Bauder also addressed the question of how long it takes to prepare a sermon - 30 years.
He also commented that those who are concerned about mentoring in the context of a small church. Sometimes guys wonder about who will mentor them if they go to a small church, when in reality they will be mentored by the people in the church and will find themselves mentoring folks in the church.

It was also discussed (I did not write down by whom) that there are some additional issues of time that come up due to technology. For instance, the ease of communication has made unnecessary communication a bigger distraction. In the old days, for instance, you had to get on a horse and ride or walk a distance to even see a Pastor, so, unless it was something serious, you did not generally make that trip. Now, it is easy to "drop by" or call, etc.

Another issue that came up (again, I did not write down from whom) was the issue of the fear of men. Many times we find ourselves ministering out of a fear of man. This is seen when we respond to needs with the mentality of "if I don’t visit this person, it is going to put me on the wrong side of them or their family, etc." Sometimes this mentality causes us to have a schedule that is not best for us or the church.

Anyway, I find hearing from these men about their schedules is encouraging to me - and sometimes provides a little help in my own scheduling.

Well, I need to go for now.

Just my thoughts,



Larry said...

The three week study schedule mentioned by Doran was also promoted by Bruce Mahwhinney in his book Preaching with Freshness. I don't know if that is where Doran got it from or not, but it is a good idea.

I did it one week ...