by Carissa Moddison
Hi, we are so happy you have chosen Parkway as your place of worship. For some (ok, I mean me, I admit it), just making it to those doors on time is a small (or large) victory. For others, a desire to connect with God is overwhelming because, well, LIFE has happened that week. Then there is the joy of anticipation as we connect with our church family, catching up on, well, LIFE.
As you walk through the doors, you are greeted with a smile and a handshake. You are invited to join us in the sanctuary, handed a bulletin and helped to your seat. Our Hospitality Team answers any questions at the info desk or helps you to the nursery and preschool wing. After you have taken your seat, you see the Worship Team take the stage and are invited to join them in praise and worship as the Media Team mixes audio, lights and displays lyrics on screen (as well as broadcasts our services to those unable to attend). Once a month, you are invited to share in communion. If you have prayer needs, the Prayer Team welcomes you, prays with you and anoints the sick with oil.
We all settle down for announcements and prayer over the youth and kids as they join their teachers for a lesson. Then, we enter into a time of learning. You listen and look to the power point slides to fill in your bulletin.
We commit to applying that day’s lesson to our life that week and are given an opportunity to honor God with our tithes and offering. We pray over what we have learned and then we are dismissed. We pick up our children, visit with friends and family, make lunch plans and continue on our way – entering into a new week refreshed and prepared for what it may bring us.
That is a typical Sunday Service at Parkway. But, have you ever wondered what went into making all of the DETAILS of this day happen? It’s a blessed two hours, but how many hours (and days) went into making it happen behind the scenes and in the week (or weeks) leading up to this particular Sunday? WHO is doing this work? How does it all come together? Is there a place where you can help?
Welcome to our new series, “Beyond the Sanctuary.” In this series it is our goal to show you how Sunday happens and honor those who have been serving in these various areas. Over the next few months, you will meet the teams and see the process of what happens behind the scenes. We invite you into the process.
Beyond the Sanctuary: Sermon Selection Process.
by Pastor Dennis Webber
Someone asked, “How do you decide what sermons to preach?” The short answer is we pray and ask God and then do what He says. The longer answer is that the prayer is often asked in context. To help in doing his work as Pastor of the church in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul writes this to Timothy in a letter, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV)
In that sense it is not really possible to present the “wrong” sermon. All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for Godly living so any portion of Scripture properly understood, presented, and applied is “good.”
The question becomes one of what kind of equipping does this group of people need at this time in this place? That is where the conversation with God begins. He knows us. He knows our circumstance. He also knows what is coming for which we need to be prepared.
This process can be one of doing no prior preparation other than personal devotional reading followed up with a prayer on the way up to the podium that says “God help me say the right thing.” On the other hand it can be the choice to preach through a lectionary that has been developed over centuries and is designed to assign to the speaker three related passages of Scripture (one each from the Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament) from which the speaker chooses and preaches on an annual rotation. Then there are those who start in Genesis 1 every year and head for Revelation 22 by the end of the year.
We tend to find a path in the middle, choosing sections of Scripture (a letter to a New Testament church, one of the four Gospels or some subset like Jesus’ parables or miracles) and to explore them in some depth. We do this for a couple of reasons. First, we want people to understand how to read the Bible for themselves; learning not only what lessons the speaker thinks are important from the Bible but at least in some degree how he came to that understanding. Second, it is our hope that the Biblical thinking of the people we are learning with will be greater than just a devotional reading (here is what the verse means to me) and that we will come to the place of understanding in the context of the Bible as a whole and the purpose of its intended writing when it was written “What does this verse actually mean?”
We believe that it is from this perspective that the most accurate and life informing applications of Scripture can be made. We never underestimate the Holy Spirit’s ability to help the person who just says “I am in trouble so I am going to just open the Bible and read the first words I see.” It is just our perception that long term if your are going to be Biblically informed both in information and practice at some point you have to study as Scripture says, not merely read.
To read the full newsletter this article appeared in, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, February 2018, Vol. 2, Issue 2.