I found an interesting post from John Campea’s website. It is about Performance or preparing, here’s an excerpt:
Is there a difference between prepared and performance? After our service this Sunday, the church leaders and I had a meeting and a conversation about how the church service is put together. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been working on making the service flow better, little thing like making sure people know when they’re supposed to do what. Making sure we start on time and end on time? little things. Anyway, someone brought up the question “are we just making things slick?”. I responded by saying there is a difference between being prepared and putting on a performance? but I’ve been wondering over the last 24 hours if that’s true. Is it? I’m not totally sure. We want our services to be authentic expressions of community even in a corporate setting. So the question is: Does preparing and striving to do things well in a service counterproductive to the notion of authenticity?
A few months ago I wrote one of my friends/mentors and here is his response:
Your summer preaching is completed by now so my response to your question about preaching won’t contaminate what you have just done! And there is no easy answer to what you ask: a definition and safeguard against entertainment and exhibition. But here are some thoughts…
A definition is probably not useful. What we are doing when we enter a pulpit is to say again what is already said/written in the idiom of the people whom we serve, for whom we pray, whom we listen to out of the everydayness of their lives whether in pain or joy or boredom or disappointment. We are letting the text of scripture and the text of their lives be on the same page together and interact. This is why I am convinced that you cannot preach accurately and well to people you don’t know, don’t know their names, their children, their parents, their jobs, their kitchens, their workplaces – the works. And of course the same thing goes for the scriptures – the whole story in all its interrelated parts. Preaching is not an impersonal proclamations of “truth” it is a communal conversation in which the Holy Spirit is partner to the conversation. The wonderful thing about being a pastor is that it gives the context, the setting, in which these communal preaching-conversations can take place.
I allow for exceptions: evangelistic preaching, for instance. But that is not the norm for preaching and congregational preaching that takes that as its model sacrifices the very genius of the pastoral task to something impersonal and remote.
As for entertainment and exhibition – that’s easy, at least on paper. We pray and consult with a friend or pastor or director to watch for signs of that kind of corrosive stuff. One of the things that I always used to guard against this was, when something I said or did was “successful” to ask, “What did I do wrong?” The gospel, is rarely applauded and so when it is there needs to be the suspicion that we did something inauthentic. People love idols over Jesus on the cross any day. It is easier to get by with bad preaching to a crowd of people you don’t know than it is to a congregation of men and women who know you, know your kids, know what you look and sound like when you are not in the pulpit. It’s harder to fake it with your own family.
What are your thoughts on this subject?