Tag Archives: connection

Preaching to Gen Z

preaching to Gen Z

Preaching to Generation Z (those born from 1999 on) means you can’t preach your Grandpa’s sermon anymore. Pastor Trygve Johnson has some tips for how to connect to Gen Z from the pulpit (“Next-Gen Preaching,” CT Pastors Special Issue, Spring 2019, 35-36).

  1. I get inside my sermon. Preachers should not be afraid to share their stories from their own lives. They should not be afraid to laugh at themselves. Generation Z seeks a preacher that is relational, that tells it like it is, that it is personal.
  2. I offer a sense of history and place. Preachers should put sermons in context both Scripturally and in terms of the space where they are worshiping. In this digital age, Gen Zers are not as fully aware of some of the stories of the Bible as perhaps generations before have been and they may not be as connected to the meaning and history behind the surroundings in their worship space and the community that formed there. These community stories need to be told as well.
  3. I treat people like insiders. Preachers need to help those who are listening that they are loved, cared for, valued and accepted. Gen Zers are eager to be a part of something and learn new terms and new insights. Preachers should not shy away from sharing those new and perhaps more challenging concepts.
  4. I preach for Gen Z, not at them. Preachers should not try to make their messages trendy, hip, or all about pop culture to impress Gen Z. Preaching for Gen Z means making God the subject of the sermon, and the salvation found in Christ alone. Keeping God at the center of all that is said in sermons is what will be of most value to Gen Z. The Word of God is what they came to hear.

In many ways these principles are actually what can make preaching better for all generations.

Slides That Work

slidesAt Best Practices for Ministry, Christopher Cawthon led a session called “Better Slides for Better Worship.” With almost all churches using slides in worship in place of bulletins, making slides that work well and enhance worship is becoming more important than ever.

Simple things like how many words are on a slide, where the line breaks happen, the font and font size used and how much punctuation is included can be crucial to readability and a worshiper’s overall experience.

Switching from one slide to the next too fast or too slow can lead to confusion as well.

In recent years motion and still background of one color or shades of the same color have replaced more and more those backgrounds with images, which has led to less cluttered visuals on the screens. Single color backgrounds also convey certain moods for the songs being sung (purple for penitent, reflective music, gold for happy, joyful anthems, for instance.)

Doing run-throughs of the slides with the musicians especially is helpful to get things right on Sunday mornings, Cawthon said, and having a good connection between the pastor and the person doing the slides is beneficial, as well, he said. They both need to trust one another for things to go as smoothly as they can.

In the end, slides are a great tool to keep parishioners engaged and keep heads looking up. Things can always go wrong, of course, but with some simple plans in place errors can be minimized, and there is always forgiveness—a good lesson to remember in church.

Exercising Body and Soul

exerciseThere is a trend in churches today to offer wellness and physical exercise programs within their walls. Some churches have gyms where members and those in the community can work out, and some offer fitness classes on a regular basis. For instance, since 2011 St. Enoch Lutheran Church in Kannapolis, NC, has been offering an hour-long class that incorporates dance, weights, Christian music and closes with a devotion and a prayer (Strybis, Erin, “Fit and Faithful,” Living Lutheran, January 2019, 15).

These sorts of programs help to build community and connections among members and others outside the church. They encourage healthy living and self-care of the bodies God has given us, these “temples of the Holy Spirit” we have been blessed with (1 Corinthians 6:19). The programs also foster and encourage discipline.

Just as we need to exercise our bodies on a regular basis, we need to exercise our souls. Exercising our souls on a regular basis through prayer, reading Scripture, Bible study, small group ministry and worship keeps our spiritual selves healthy and strong. Like physical exercise, there is a discipline to it that is not always something we are good at. But with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can keep at it. Think of the Holy Spirit as your trainer, always reminding you and encouraging you to keep going and to remember the benefits that come from regular exercising of our souls: a closer relationship with our Savior, a confidence and hope in him and a joy that lasts forever. Keep exercising your soul this week and see how your spirit is uplifted and stays fit.

 

Connection

connectionPastor Matthew Peeples has identified 16 new realities of communication that we as Christians need to be aware of as we are in the business of communicating the message of the Gospel. I will be touching on these new realities in several posts throughout this year. Here is the first new reality:

We are simultaneously connected and disconnected.

I do find it interesting that we have an ever-expanding range of ways to connect with each other, but we seem more disconnected from each other than ever before.

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The Internet of Things

We have been hearing a lot lately about the benefits and drawbacks of the Internet of Things (or IoT, for short). If you’re unclear on what that is, here is how Wikipedia describes it:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.[1] The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure,[2] creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.

Internet of ThingsFor me personally the concept kind of gives me the creeps. A segment on 60 Minutes showed how someone can take control of car built in the last ten years remotely because of this new technology. It calls to mind shades of Big Brother and that feeling that everyone is watching you.

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