SIDEBAR: Making the Most of Your Study Time--Preaching by the

Consider the following ideas, making the most of your study time, upgrading your current resources.

Form a sermon study group. Find a group of perceptive parishioners who love to explore God’s Word and meet with them weekly. Let them help you. Expect them to come prepared to do so. Farm out assignments. Although they need to allow you the space to hear how God wants you to preach the sermon, come with an open mind and listen to how God is speaking through them. Pray over your time together.

Feed a local Bible scholar or retired pastor. I spent a whole year of Wednesdays eating breakfast with a local New Testament scholar discussing the week’s text from Ephesians. I bought his bacon and eggs; he told me everything he knew about the passage. It was a great use of church funds, for it upgraded my preaching and I made a lifelong friend.

Consider studying with ministerial friends. Rather than going alone each week, consider studying the text with some of your ministerial friends from other Bible-based churches. What if several churches in the same community preached from the same text each weekend? What if those pastors shared their insights and research with each other on a designated day each week, swapping notes, forming outlines, and sharing personal insights? As you walk together through sermon preparation and evaluation, this could be a huge leap forward in local Christian unity, tearing down walls of divisive competition.

DOUG GREEN, D.Min., Brea, California