Sunday, 16 August 2009

Local Preaching Conference

On Saturday I went to a preaching conference. This year they had 3 people speaking. Two from SMBC and one guy, Abraham (Abe) Kuruvilla from Dallas Seminary (his blog here). There were 7 session crammed in between 9am and 3:30pm.

Dr Sam Chan (it tuns out I went to beach mission with Sam when I was younger) started the day with a sermon on 3 John. He argued that everyone in the church should ensure that the truth is proclaimed. He has a funny sense of humour and is able to drive home a clear point. Later he gave a quick seminar about topical preaching and took us through how he plans his talk. His main goal is to show some resonance with his audience and then show some deficiency and then argue for his truth claim. The idea to to show that he understands the topic but then he shows that there is a problem with this world view or a deficiency and then he argues for a gospel take on the topic. He then gave us some quick examples the he has done with the topic of health, beer, weddings and Christmas.

Dr Malcolm Gill gave us some pointers for the use of illustrations in sermons. Images help us to understand a point and for latter recall. His main waring is that the illustrations should shed light on your point and not over shadow it. Malcolm also gave a session on preaching to generation Y. I found out that I am more post-modern than I thought I was.

Dr Abe Kuruvilla gave three session which were really good. If you ever get a chance to hear Abe talk, you should take it. Abe is writing a commentary on Mark which should be a good read when it comes out.

Abe's firs session was on narrative writings and he argued that all narrative have an agenda. The story teller choses the order of events for their own purpose (agenda) and it our task to work out their points. His second session looked a five parts in Mark where there is a sandwiches (a scene within another scene). These were Mark 3:20-35, 5:21-43, 6:7-32, 11:12-25, 14:1-11 and 14:53-72. Each of these text take place in two different scenes that involve different people. One scene will start and then another scene will happen within the other story (like meat in a sandwich) and then the narrative returns to the first scene (like the bread in a sandwich). The last session of the day was Abe giving a sermon on Mark 14:1-11. He showed us that Judas goes to the temple to give Jesus over for some money, where as the woman goes to an unclean house to give Jesus something that costs. His asked "What does God require of us?" and answered with "We are to make extravagant sacrifices that are pure, precious and praise worthy."

The day was jammed pack and was a bit of an information overload, but it was good.


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