Where do they get inspiration?
In a letter to Timothy, the author says “ All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16 NRSV). It’s good to know that Scripture is inspired by God, but where do the pastors get inspiration to select passages, create series and write sermons?
I like to think it’s from the same place the authors of Scripture were inspired, from God. I – along with Pastors Lisa and Mary Gay- find God providing inspiration from our own devotional and prayer life. We also sense God moving in various art forms and nature causing us to take notice, ponder and pray. Providing pastoral care, teaching studies, and even participating in meetings provide God the opportunity to speak to us in how best to lead the church. The Holy Spirit also shows up in the newspaper or our newsfeeds. The Lectionary (an ecumenical cycle of assigned scripture texts that cover most of the Bible over the course of three years) continues to also be a guidepost in planning as well.
Here is how God’s inspiration can play out. This Sunday we are starting a three-Sunday series called: Earn. Save. Give. John Wesley’s three rules to not let money rule your life. This series was inspired by Howie Pribble when he felt a call in his service on the Finance Team to offer a message based on John Wesley’s 1872 sermon title The Use of Money. In fact, Howie will be preaching one of the three messages on October 10th. The Holy Spirit nudged me to explore this topic more deeply just as the Spirit did in Howie. Similarly, our late fall series that starts mid-October called Good Grief – Being real about what we’ve lost, finding words to describe our grief and faithfully finding hope comes from all the losses we’ve felt acutely in the pandemic and God has moved in my heart to help us all deal with loss.
As part of my planning discipline, I find it helpful to hear from the congregation about the topics and texts God has placed on the hearts and minds of the people. I believe God speaks to anyone and everyone and maybe God is laying something on your heart that would inspire a future sermon or series. As I go into planning, I like to have that information on hand and to invite the church to pray for me in the planning process.
Later this month, I’ll be planning for 2022 by spending time in Scripture and prayer, seeking God’s inspiration for worship. I invite you to provide me with some of what is on your heart and mind through this anonymous survey. Most of all, your prayers that your Pastors may be inspired and energized contribute more than any of us can know!