1. Any minister is challenged to be creative. Be sure to read L. L. Barkat’s post “ How to Work Like a Genius.” Interesting comments about Albert Einstein’s work habits. You might also enjoy the post I wrote last week “How to Make Space for Good Thinking.”
Ministers really need to give thought to habits and practices that can contribute to creative thinking. We really can create environments which are more conducive to creativity and thoughtfulness. The point is not to be novel. Rather, those of us who are constantly teaching, preaching, and writing may benefit from certain habits or practices that stimulate our thinking.
2. Again, regarding creativity. You might consider reading the comments from readers of The Atlantic on the creative process. You can find the discussion here.
3. Recently, I posted “10 Suggestions for Better Preaching.” You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. These suggestions are not related to tools, techniques, or homiletical approaches. Rather, these suggestions are about using good judgment and wisdom in preaching. Preaching is so much more than giving a talk or making a speech. It is much more than having certain homiletical skills. Preaching to a congregation each week calls for much wisdom and discernment.
4. It doesn’t always take a great amount of time to be fully present with another person. It does take your attention, however. When a minister is at a church on a Sunday morning, it is very easy for this person to end up not really being fully present in any conversation.
This is something I’ve consciously worked on. Right out of graduate school, I began preaching for a congregation in northern Alabama. I remember feeling very frustrated because I wanted to speak to as many people as possible on Sunday mornings. I tried to do this but felt even more dissatisfied. While I was speaking to more people, I felt as if I wasn’t fully present in so many of those conversations. I recall talking with people and having difficulty really staying focused.
In more recent years, I still attempt to speak to many people on a Sunday. However, I am more concerned about listening and being fully present with whomever I am talking and not worrying about how many people I actually speak to.
5. Be sure to read Tim Spivey’s very good discussion on preaching (you can find his two recent posts here and here). Also, you might want to check here for a discussion on Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight) about one of Tim’s questions. Also, my friend Taylor Sandlin has started a new blog on preaching. Taylor is a great guy and a good thinker.