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.