Sam Moore – Preaching

March 12, 2020

Sam Moore, Elder, Hickory Grove UMC​

What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to preaching?
The most challenging thing for preaching has to do with hermeneutics. I mean by this finding the ways that the scripture speaks to our current experiences. I think this also has to do with the text being relevant for our living. I struggle with not reading too much into the text and being faithful to the biblical texts. My prayer is always that God uses me to preach a “fresh word” that is true to the text, theological sounds, and I am not boring.
What is the most rewarding thing?
The most rewarding thing I find about my preaching ministry is that God can use me to speak to God’s people so that they may hear God calling them to live more faithful lives to God. God uses me and the preaching ministry that I offer to the church to help others grow as faithful followers of Jesus. Members remind me of this when they tell stories, or quote me from sermons.
What has changed about preaching over your years of ministry?
The process of preparing to preach has changed over my years in ministry. I remember being a part-time local pastor and a student local pastor with a preaching responsibility.  I preached many “Saturday Night Specials.” These were sermons that I wrote on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. Now, I follow a process in which I determine scriptures, sermon topics, and orders of worship on a quarterly basis. I return to materials that I have read for sermons the Monday before I preach the sermon. I use Monday evenings, and Tuesday mornings to pray over the scripture and the main idea. My devotionals are lectionary-based, so if I am following the Lectionary, my devotions add to the process. I begin to write the sermon on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. The goal is to have a finished manuscript before I leave the office on Thursday. I may read over the manuscript sometime on Friday. Saturday afternoon I begin to read the manuscript. I read it all afternoon, and Saturday night until I think that I have it so that I may preach it without notes, or with very few notes. I preach it in the first worship service, return to the study, evaluate it, make changes, and preach it in the second worship service. I thank God for the sermons, look at the scripture, sermon topic, and main idea for the next Sunday.  
Is there a certain “style” or preaching that you often use and why?
Currently, I use a conversational style of preaching on Sunday mornings. In the traditional venue, I do not use the pulpit. I know that it is there, and sometimes I begin behind the pulpit. The sermon appears to be more of a conversation when I have moved away from the pulpit, and I am standing on the first step of the chancel. I also preach without notes or very few notes on Sunday mornings. I use the pulpit and I read sermons at funerals/memorial services because I am attempting to bring comfort during these services of worship. The comfort is hope based on the Resurrection. I think standing behind the pulpit and being intentional about what I am saying accomplishes these things better. I preach these sermons with manuscripts.
What counsel would you offer those who preach?
I have three words of counsel that I can offer. The first is to be authentic. God created us, redeemed us, and is sanctifying us. While we are in the process of becoming fully-formed disciples of Jesus, we are who we are. We are always reaching and growing.  Our goal is to become the best version of ourselves. Our members know the areas in our lives in which we are struggling, and they love us. They respect us more when we are honest with them, and ourselves. Secondly, we value those with whom we share ministry. We love them in deeds and words. People hear our prophetic preaching better when they know that we love them. We love them, and God calls us to serve among them. Loving them is at the foundation of who God is calling us to be. We love not only them but all of our neighbors. Finally, we continue to grow in our relationship with God. We make use of the means of grace so that we may grow into the people God is calling us to become. We need to be intentional about growing in our relationship with God. This includes maintaining a Sabbath, holistically taking care of ourselves, and be willing to grow. I will use a couple of quotes to summarize.  “We cannot lead people where we are not willing to go.”  Nor, can we “share what we do not have.” 
Do you have any resources, experiences, or books you would recommend?
I will list a few books that are forming me as a preacher.
Fred Craddock Preaching, Evans E. Crawford, The Hum, James Forbes The Holy Spirit and Preaching, Mike Graves, The Fully Alive Preacher, Ruben Job, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, Guide to Prayer for all God’s People, A Guide to Prayer for all who Seek God,  Thomas Long, Preaching from Memory to Hope, Otis Moss, Jr., and Otis Moss III, Preach!,  Robert Stephen Reid, and Lucy Lind Hogan, The Six Deadly Sins of Preaching, Barbara Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life, and Gospel Medicine, Joseph Webb, Preaching Without Notes, and The Christian Century.
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