Poets, Prophets and Preachers, Session 1

Here are some great quotes and personal insights from Session 1 of Poets, Prophets and Preachers: "The Original Guerilla Theatre: throwing ourselves into this ancient, sacred art form with the absurd, naive, antiquated belief that the world needs inspiring, provocative, comforting, dangerous, healing, great sermons now more than ever" by Rob Bell.

“The sermon is a beautiful, primitive art form” that we are in need of recapturing for today. Contrary to popular belief, the sermon is not dead; it simply needs to be resuscitated. For many, the sermon is simply something to be endured; for others the sermon is something to be evaluated (“did you like it?” “did the preacher do a good job?”); for others the sermon is propaganda. Rob asked if any of us had ever experienced a “preachers hangover”: when you’re tired, you have a headache and you think to yourself, “I said what?” Oftentimes, as preachers we want to ask the question, “have you heard anything I’ve said?”

So what is a sermon, or better still, what should a sermon be? Rob gave us several suggestions.

A sermon has an element of performance art to it

A sermon can sometimes be like guerilla theatre: you show up, do what needs to be done, and leave.

A sermon can also be actions that evoke; sometimes we can’t say what needs to be said, we need to show it.

A sermon should be a witness; people should be able to tell that we have been with Jesus.

A sermon should be – like it was for Jeremiah – a fire within us that cannot be held in.

A sermon should be a reminder: this is not what God had in mind

A sermon should be an invitation: something BIG is happening and everyone is invited.

Sometimes a sermon is a sub-version: “I know this is the story that everyone is telling; but there is ANOTHER Story.”

Sometimes a sermon is simply provocation: utilization of loaded language and a warning.

Rob reminded us that when we bring a new word, we will be misunderstood, and we need to expect it. But we must bring the new word!

The Bible begins with God speaking … “In the beginning God said …” Speaking is still the preferred method of communicating God’s Word.

I love this quote: “words create new worlds.” When we speak we never know who is hearing what we are saying and how God is opening new worlds for those who are receiving the message.

Another good quote: “talks start talks.” Sermons should start conversations, not end them. People should be talking about and wrestling with what we said long after we are finished speaking.

Ultimately, as preachers and teachers, we are not men and women who have to say something, we are men and women who have something to say.

On a closing note: It’s now 9:06 pm EST and the sun is still out. This place is weird! Why is Grand Rapids, MI. in the Eastern Time Zone anyway? I’m pretty sure Grand Rapids is further west than Shalimar is, and we are in the Central Time Zone?? I don’t get it.

Will write more tomorrow.


  1. I added you to the list of people blogging at Poets, Prophets, & Preachers. Check out the list and let me know if I'm missing anyone you know.


  2. Thanks for the recap - that is helpful for those of us who haven't been able to get here:)


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