Visit our new site at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: Christ the King/Reign of Christ Edition

Good morning, gals and pals!  (or, good "midde-of-the-night", depending on when you are reading this).  Here's the first burning question of the day:  What do you call it?  Christ the King? or Reign of Christ?  Discuss.

I have put on the requisite blueberry pancakes for you this morning, along with (drumroll please) turkey sausage, because it's such a special weekend.   There's orange juice and fair trade coffee too.  Now, let's get to the preaching, please.

There may be false shepherds to deal with, or the two thieves on the cross, or the invisible but almighty king.  There are many directions for preaching, or just one:  which is it?  I'm curious. 

You will find some initial thoughts on the texts here.  And I hope you will find a good party, all day, HERE. 

Please share an idea, or ask a question, share your activities, or bring a dish to pass.

And oh, by the way, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?  (both worship-wise and fun-wise)


  1. I don't get to be first very often. In fact, I am trying to make an effort to stop being the last most weeks. That said I'm up super late just now getting started on the funeral stuff that is needed 8 1/2 hours from now. I finished my Sunday sermon first because I wanted that done before Saturday night. We have dinner plans with a family from the church, and I don't want it hanging over my head. The only way to make sure it got done was to do it before the funeral stuff is prepared. If I had waited 'til the funeral stuff was done first, I would have just gone to bed when I finished. This way that isn't an option really.

    So anyway, My sermon is here, and it is very different for me. I go a little "hard core" on the money/stewardship stuff, but I think it needs to be done. I am also risking using myself as a decent example. I don't think I've ever done it before, but I feel like in this case it's intended to be more about showing what works for "me and my house," although there is also a challenge there.

    I don't know. If you have time, pretty please stop by and read it and give me some frank feedback. I can take it!

  2. Saturday afternoon here, and I have spent the afternoon driving to a consultation with a congregation, to find only the team there. no-one had thought to confirm the date with the congregation. so we had coffee, which was lovely, but with driving there and finding our what was going on, there went the afternoon.

    Now to Sunday. The Sunday School are staying in, so interactive. looking at what we know about kings - making a poster; then a poster on kings in the OT [hopefully they think of David!]. then what was Jesus like, and in what way is Jesus King. I hope to get people thinking about if Jesus is King? - because Jesus is only King [I think] if we allow him to be.
    so I have cardboard for posters, and coloured paper, also string and pegs for what we know about Jesus - this could be great or a dismal failure.
    and I call it Christ the King.

    lots of pasta sauce in the fridge, made a big batch to freeze ready for church function next week.

  3. Ahhhh...while I'm sorry for you, pearl, it is good to know those kinds of communication issues happen somewhere other than just in my world! I'm glad you at least got enjoy the coffee.

    I have finished now with my funeral stuff. I'm going to go catch a few hours of sleep. At least I won't be doing this two nights in a row. I'll catch you all later today.

    (An aside - - I'm fired up to be leading the whole funeral from my iPad. I think the burial will be so much easier without having to juggle papers or books. Good stuff!!!)

  4. Good morning. Just about to have some Scottish breakfast tea and some toasted crumpets dripping in butter. Plenty to share. Sherev- one of my mentors in training always advised me to prepare whatever was furthest away first and then I'd be forced into doing the things that had more urgent deadlines. I like that plan of action- and it works.
    I'm going with Christ the King this Sunday. I thought I was pretty well organised earlier in the week but not so sure now. But making an earky start so that I can hopefully get to see the new HArry Potter movie later today.
    For childrens time, we will show pics of famous people and talk about how you recognise someone and what they do - but Jesus - a king? Of course the upcoming marriage of our future king making all the news just now might help a bit to get us thinking about What kind of king? I'd best get on with it. Be back later.

  5. 'today you will be with me in paradise' - that's the line ringing the wee inner bell this morning, with the question:
    I wonder what the kindom/ kingdom of paradise looks like?

    Slept in - nothing at all in the hoose to share, so invites all 'round to walk along the beach to my local cafe by the harbour... serving lattes and a good Scottish fry up :)

  6. Hi, She Rev, Pearl, Liz and Nik. I too have a funeral today. Actually a small memorial service for the son of a member. I did get everything done for that yesterday morning, then wrote a short-er sermon. It's done, but feels a little rough, still...

    I call it "Christ the King." but I like Reign of Christ.

    I will be over to read your sermon in a little while, She Rev...


  7. Good morning, friends. Here we call it Thank Offering Sunday and the women's organization takes over the service.
    Kills. Me.
    I inherited that feature and the staff is still laughing from last year when the beloved leader of the women's group asked me if I knew of any women preachers.... ummmmm......

    Anyway, I have tried to combine Reign of Christ with Thanksgiving using Colossains and a Philippians texts that has left me with less of a mess.

    I need stories of abundant grace. Got some?

    I think one of the reasons I am struggling is because I am worried about the way it may be heard by those in the congregation who are not exactly experiencing abundant grace right now, so of course the bottom line to the message must be that Christ has reconciled us no matter what it's like right now...

    or something...

    Off to walk the dogs, then coffee from a mug (yay!) and some sort of breakfast. Wish I had fresh bagels...

  8. Welcome, Kathrynzj. You know, I should have lots of stories of abundant grace. I don't know why I can't think of any right now. Maybe I need some coffee from a mug....

    still dark here. I'm getting ready for a breakfast Bible study, then I'll be back for awhile, before driving out for my memorial service.

  9. Morning Pals,

    I'm going with Christ the King for my sermon. I am going to explore how divisive our last election was and how Christ's kingship was about reconciliation and not about making a grab for power.

    I made beingets to share. Yummy!

  10. God_Guurrlll -- welcome!!! I like your idea. blessings.

    and thanks for the beingets (not sure I've ever had them, but they sound yummy.)

  11. They are french doughnuts with tons of powdered sugar on them. They are a delicacy in New Orleans. A friend of mine brought me a back a box of beinget mix when he traveled to New Orleans.

  12. I woke up without an alarm this morning -- probably with nerves over tomorrow. After a whole Fall preaching series on the church, the sermon this week is a congregational recitation of the book of Ephesians, which means there isn't much I can do today (except prepare my portion) and, instead, I have to trust the church to be and to do exactly what we've been talking about together for the past 10 weeks. Of course, it won't be perfect, the church never is, but oi! Letting go of control, while trying to cover all my bases so I don't leave anyone hanging is a rough business.

    I have some lovely coffee, some granola and yogurt to share.


    ps -- we'll be frontloading the service with Christ the King songs and liturgies. I like the title: Reign of Christ. Not sure of the difference as regards emphasis.

  13. God_Guurrlll -- thanks (I googled it, too.) :)

    Rev Irrev -- not sure there is a difference either, but heard a couple of theologian types talking earlier in the week, and thought I'd bring it up!

  14. She Rev, do you have a problem with glare on your iPad when you're outside? I've considered buying one (or asking my husband, who would be beyond thrilled to get a Christmas gift request), but the sun is so bright here in the Rockies that I wonder if I could use it outdoors.

    I had 3/4 of a sermon written on the lectionary texts and then the Holy Spirit nudged me in a different direction, so I will be preaching on the Reign of Christ using John 6:25-29 — that we invite Christ to reign in our lives because we have been fed. There are some great missional implications for my congregation, but I'm wondering why the Holy Spirit always visits me on FRIDAY.

  15. Full day tomorow with a baptism and communion. I shifted emphasis, for a variety of reasons, to talk more about baptism. It will be a short meditation.

    Tonight is the community thanksgiving service hosted by the local ministerial association. Not preaching but reading scripture. It is preceded by a soup supper.

  16. Hi preachers! I'm back for another installment of Rent-a-Preach.

    This week I am the "Woman Preacher" for the thank offering, just like what is going on at KZJ's church.

    I've bailed "Reign of Christ" altogether. I was kind of hoping the HoS at the church would assert his HoSsy power and insist I go that route, but he did not. (I believe his exact words were "Do whatever you want.") So, I am stuck with abundant grace.

    I am taking it a thematic route, a different way for me to preach. I'm interpreting "grace" as God allowing us to see glimpses of ourselves as God sees us: forgiven, blessed, loved. Sometimes those glimpses involve other people, sometimes not.

    There will be some stories in the sermon. At least I hope there will be. ;) I got a start last weekend on this, but have let it sit and marinate. Now I'm soon off to the gym, then back to finish what I started.

  17. Oh, I forgot the part that is really stressing me: I've been told to expect up to 60 kids at the Kids Kirk (children's message).

    Sixty. Kids. ::gulp::

  18. At Chorale rehearsal the other night, a line from one of the pieces we worked on jumped out at me. "Often comes the Christ is a stranger's garb."
    Nothing earth shattering there but I keep thinking about how strange Jesus was to those he encountered. He looked like a nice normal Jewish man, maybe a rebbe, but he did strange things. Healing, preaching like no one else, exercising authority he had no right to have. Then there's the biggies like tossing out the money changers, feeding 5,000, standing before the highest Jewish and Roman authorities with a confidence he oughtn't to feel and then, while hanging on a cross from which there was no escape, he assured a notorious sinner that he would be with him that very day in paradise!
    Strange is good, right? :-)

  19. This is our Thanksgiving Sunday and we are taking a "second mile" offering to help us end the year in the black. The chosen passage, that seemed like a good idea in August, is Colossians. At least, it has the words "giving thanks."

    I have a new phone for which I am grateful. I'm having a blast with it really. It has an Android operating system and I downloaded an app that lets me take any MP3 and edit it to be a ringtone. I love putting specific ringtones for certain people. Over the years, at various points, the church has been Hedwig's Theme or a Trumpet Voluntary, the house was a clip from VeggieTale's with Larry singing "Bob is really angry, I hope he doesn't catch me." As I was playing with the ringtone app and figuring out what to assign to whom, I edited the Irving Berlin song "Count your blessings instead of Sheep" for the house. It seemed a fitting reminder for calls that are always from a teenager usually complaining about the other teenager.

    In my quite brief contemplation of Colossians, it seems fitting there, too.

  20. The plan as worked great for me, too, this time, Liz. I wish I had thought of it or someone had told me of it sooner. This could work for me.

    Suzy, I haven't used it outside yet. This morning will be my first shot. I'll come back later and let you know.

    I'm giving myself about 10 minutes to relook at the funeral homily. I went to bed thinking it felt more eulogy than homily, so I want to see if I can get it back to the Scripture quickly and easily in a couple of places. If not, I've got something. If so, it will be a little stronger in my eyes.

  21. I do everything in my power to avoid Christ the King Sunday. CtK and T-fig are my least favorite Sundays of the calendar--probably because they tend to end up as Associate Sundays and so I have already managed to preach on them a good 4 or 5 times each. ick. One year I had youth Sunday on CtK (I've also scheduled it for T-fig before, LOL). This year I've scheduled a confirmation class field trip, so we will be at Trinity UCC listening to Otis Moss III rather than me being stuck with CtK yet again.
    But I'm here working on next week's sermon, because my Thanksgiving plans don't involve me being home to write a sermon next week. So...I'm headed into Advent today, trying not to panic about what must have happened to cause Advent to arrive already.
    I have a variety of kid-friendly cereals in my post-retreat pantry--fruit loops, cinnamon toast crunch, etc. help yourselves to a sugar rush!

  22. Jules: "I'm interpreting "grace" as God allowing us to see glimpses of ourselves as God sees us: forgiven, blessed, loved. Sometimes those glimpses involve other people, sometimes not."

    Brilliant. Thank you.

  23. Taking a five minute break from the Church Fair to say hello!
    I'm preaching Reign of Christ tomorrow, and like many others I'm making reference to the Royal Family in England, drawing a picture of the ironic parallels between my family's fascination with royal processions and the faith and sadness of the women who watched Jesus go to the cross.
    But first, I'm selling pies and cupcakes.
    Catch you all later.

  24. I'm baaack...after not preaching for a couple of weeks, as I was away at CREDO and visiting my mother.

    My CREDO was awesome in every way, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a chance to go. But reentry has been a bit tough, what with a bit of conflict with my senior warden (of the passive aggressive sort, and completely unexpected) and still needing to hire a new parish secretary, and no heat in my office and a big plumbing leak and ... well, you get the picture.

    Anywho, I'm preaching Christ the King and using William's engagement as a segue to talk about kingship. Working Preacher was (as always) helpful with that. And I have a baptism, assuming the parents show up this afternoon for our meeting--they have been somewhat "missing in action" when we've tried to reach them for info the past couple of weeks. Not sure what that means.

    Our Thanksgiving service will be Wednesday evening, and I'm preaching the BCP lectionary gospel from Matthew (do not worry...) and hoping to rework some things I've done on that in the past, with a big emphasis on letting go of worry and living in gratitude (duh, I know.)

    I also have a bit of a toothache which I hope will not become unbearable before Monday when I can get in touch with my dentist. Ugh.

    Also interested in how the iPad works out for the funeral, SheRev. I met someone at CREDO who intends to use his iPad exclusively in worship once a hymnal is available for it.

    I've written almost 400 words, and I'd like to get this written by noon, so I'd better get back to it.

  25. KZJ, if you say it is brilliant, I'm going for it!

    Believe it or not, I started down this path several weeks ago when I saw a post on Jo(e)'s blog--one of her Naked Blogging posts. She has generously allowed me to use it in my sermon tomorrow.

    But no photos... ;)

  26. A friend of mine just emailed me to tell me about how one of her parishioners showed her the grace she would not show herself when she chose her family over yet another church event.

    Then you posted here. I love it when God works through my friends!

  27. wow! out for a one our Bible study and the party takes off! I should get away more often.

    Don't know why I am so nervous this weekend. I just am.

    I have a sermon for a memorial service today, I have a short sermon for tomorrow that is oookay, I guess, and I feel like I don't really have time to fix it.

    And oh, annual meeting tomorrow. I guess I'm a little nervous about that too.

    just want to say a blanket, Welcome all!!!!

    Jules, I like your brilliant idea too. I think I need to hear it, myself.

    And Teri, I too have experienced Tfig and CtK being "associate Sundays. Yeah.

    have a cup of coffee, anyone?

  28. Teri-
    I feel guilty for giving an AP the 1st Sunday of Advent every year. Is that at least better than Christ the King? The other one gets 3rd Advent, but she mainly works with the choir on their stuff and does a brief meditation at the most.

    I'm seriously asking because I don't want to be 'that' Head of Staff.

  29. kzj, as an assistant I loved having First Advent. FWIW.

  30. Wow! This party is already hopping! And I am only just now pulling up to the table.

    We were out late last night for a Young Adults Sunday School class party. It was the 4th night out of the last 6th that we've had to have a babysitter for our kids (3 of those nights were right in a row). They are old enough now to complain about it, which makes me feel even worse. Fortunately I was able to promise them that there will be no babysitters next week, and only one the week after that.

    I slept in this morning, but then made the mistake of checking email on my iPhone while still in bed (that's actually my usual way of waking up, which I know is not a good idea). Was jolted awake by a difficult email about something crappy happening in one sector of the church. Bah!

    Meanwhile, my MIL, who recently moved to town, is ill with what we are afraid is pneumonia, so dh went out to take her to Urgent Care. So I am home with the boys for what could be several hours, while also writing my sermon and prepping for Sunday School. Argh!

    Sorry for all the moaning. The truth is, I LOVE preaching Christ the King - one of my fave Sundays of the year. I'm going with Colossians, which I've preached the last two cycles through. I just think it is an absolutely beautiful text, and I'm looking forward to preaching it. If I can make it through all my church obligations tomorrow, I will feel like I am home-free for getting ready to host Thanksgiving. Phew!

    Looking forward to partying with y'all today!

  31. Rev Dr. Mom and Kathrynzj -- I like doing 1 Advent too. though I'm not this year. I'm totally off.

  32. KZJ--I vastly prefer Advent 1 to CtK. Vastly. Even when it falls on Thanksgiving weekend. :-)

  33. hi earthchick -- welcome! I think if there is any averson to Ctk on my part, it is more due to repetition than anything else.

    on the other hand, CtK can be all about eschatology -- about how to see God's reign now, even when it's mostly invisible.

    ok, back to preparing the funeral...

  34. Good morning, at least there's 10 minutes left to morning here. I finally got the cold my husband had. It was threatening last week and just when I thought I had defeated it, well here it is.
    So I'm farming out as much of the service as I can to protect my waning voice. AND I didn't get a worship leader so the parts will have to do.
    SheRev, did you find a word processing app for the ipad? I heard there was one and the lack of one would keep me away. I use my itouch so much that I'm hoping for an iphone when verizon gets it in Jan. (If the money from a writing gig comes in.) I'm also interested in how it works outside with glare.

    Margaret, I've already copied some of your thoughts as I'm doing XtheK or REign of.., and reusing most of an old sermon. This fits my lack of energy and the crazy 'away' week I had. I feel like I need a break again and we're going into Advent. Not good. So thanks Margaret, I hope you don't mind my using your ideas?

    The children's message will be about our "Paperdoll Jesus" and how we grab a different outfit and call him shepherd, king, criminal on cross, savior. then I'll play into that with the sermon. Or hope to. Point being our image of Jesus matters... ah well, best to all.

  35. Sherev - a stewardship guru in our denomination told me once that using yourself as an example is the best hting you can do to help people understand stewardship.

    hey jules - good to see ya

    kjz -since you are asking the question, you are already NOT that head of staff. and anyway, dude, you do not preach on 2 advent sundays?! that is pretty much automatically sharing the love with the associates as far as I can tell.

    I never really get into CtK Sunday - since we dont have a Thanksgiving worship tradition in my congregation (::does the happy dance::), we use the lectionary t-giving texts for this day, then have a big turkey feast afterward. I usually love it, but this has been the most stressful week personally that I can imagine for a while, so I'm not sure where I'm heading. Using "my father was a wandering Aramean" scrip from Deut and something heartwarming from Philip. I think I'm going to talk about the legacy we leave behind (Moses' "last words", Paul's letters) and what message we want that legacy to send. Then, I can tie in the blessing of people's pledge cards that happens this day. I think it will work,b ut so far I got NOTHING on paper.

    Also, kids tims about Thanksgiving? Anyone got a good one?

    earthchick - sorry to hear about your m-i-l, and about your upset plans for the day. blessings on your writing.

  36. RevNancy, Pages is the app your are thinking of I think. It does word processing and desktop publishing on the iPad and works quite well. And from what I hear, when the os upgrade for iPad comes out early next year we will be able to print wirelessly from it which will be teh awesome.

  37. ...although if you preach right from the iPad, printing may not be so important.

    My word verification is "later" which fits in so many ways: it is later than I would like it to be since I haven't finished my draft yet, and I will have to see y'all later because I have a meeting with baptism parents this afternoon.

  38. Diane, I totally agree re: the repetition. That does make this day tricky (along with T-fig and Ascension), though I'm grateful that with CtK we at least get totally different texts each year, whereas with T-fig and Ascension, they are different texts but the same story each year!

    I think the eschatological dimension makes things tricky, since we just had All Saints Day two weeks ago, and Advent with its eschatological focus starts next week. Liturgically, I love that we end the Xn year and start it again with that focus. Homiletically it gets hard!

    Anyway. I don't have any words written yet. And none will come till later this afternoon, as dh called to say he won't be home from Urgent Care in time to take the boys to their swim lesson. So that means getting out of pjs, getting makeup on, getting the boys dressed, and getting out the door!

    In the meantime, I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and am happy to pass the plate!

  39. Have yet to read all the comments thus far but:

    I am pondering what kind of a king gets enthroned on a cross. (or born in a cowshed for that matter) Foolishness indeed. But Paul had something to say about such foolishness.

    And if this is the kind of king we proclaim, what does that say about the kingdom/reign we are citizens of?

    Oh and my thoughts from Thanksgiving in October (being Canadian and all) are posted here.

  40. Rev Dr Mom I didn't know you could get pages for ipad. nice. I use microsoft for mac b/c my work computer is windows but pages is my choice for more creative docs. very nice. I hope we get a report about glare later. I may need to revise my wish list. ha..

  41. I'm writing what feels like a very vulnerable sermon.

    (Let's face it. Ever since the Great Unbloggable of Aught Nine, they all are vulnerable feeling.)

    But this one even more so. I think it is because I get to be a Rent-a-Preach that I am more open to being open. If they hate it, they never have to hear me again.

    At least that's what I am telling myself...

  42. Jules, a major turning point in my healing process was a very vulnerable sermon.

    May it be so for you, even if it never leaves your laptop.

    By the way, this is a line direct from my sermon: "It may be hard to understand the Christ, but it is through Christ that God understand us - Forgiven. Blessed. Loved."

    Sound familiar?

  43. Suzy - the iPad worked great at the graveside. No glare for me. It was just 9:30 and the full sun wasn't out, but it was fine.

    The funeral went smooth; I'm home already. Just before it started though, the funeral dir got a call to another death. Another of my members. That's 3 in 20 days for our church of 200-ish. Here we go again.

    I use Pages for word processing which I understand is the best of a host of not great least that was what I was warned. I have now written three sermons on it and made a script for the whole funeral, and I have no complaints. I'm not attempting any word processing for public viewing, though, just my writing for me. But it does everything I need it to do. Pages is a $9.99 app at the App Store.

    Sometimes I do Christ the King Sunday, sometimes I don't. It's up there on my not favorite list with Trinity Sunday, but not too high. It's just that I'm finding that sometimes these bridge Sundays require so much explanation that the congregation and I lose energy around them. Whether or not I do them usually depends. On how I've been using the lectionary in the time leading up to them. I've been off. It completely this fall and will be. Doing something a little different in Advent even, so it seems a little out of place to go "whole hog." That said, it did fit in somewhat with my stewardship emphasis, so I went with it and chose the hymns around that theme.

    If I were going "whole hog" I think I'd call it Reign of Christ this time and use the year to transition to that language. My understanding is that the name change has been driven mostly by inclusive language efforts. I can get behind that, but it would not be the way to win over some of. My congregation. For me "Christ the King" just sound archaic.

  44. I only learned this year that Christ the King Sunday originated in 1925. It isn't something that has taken hold wildly in the Congregational portion of the UCC, as far as I can tell, but it's fascinating to me that Protestant denominations adopted something relatively new that came from the Pope.
    Not planning to get hung up on it, but as a History major, I find that stuff interesting.
    Our fair has an hour to go, and I am pooped, hiding for a few minutes in my office. But I must return. Hoping that some things I bid on in the Silent Auction will draw out other bidders so I don't have to buy them!

  45. okay! I'm off to a funeral! talk amongst yourselves.

    see you in a couple of hours!

  46. For Lutherans it is Christ the King, but like Diane, I like Reign of Christ. I will be preaching from the Colossians text, emphasizing Christ who holds everything together. That church is currently without a pastor and is struggling. I just have tea and coffee to share.

    Thanksgiving Eve I will be leading a service at that same church. Thanksgiving Day, unless we get a last minute invitation, it will just my husband and myself at a nearby restaurant for dinner.

  47. Sermon preachable BEFORE my son came home from his Dad's!

    Thanks Jules and others (even the dang PW Thank Offering worksheet) for getting me here.

    It still needs some spit and polish, but it'll preach.

    Blessings on you all as you continue to write (I'm sure I'll check in to see what the dinner spread is!)

  48. Thanks to KZJ, screen blurry. Hard to read.

  49. I am supply preaching tomorrow(for a friend) and am using the Thanksgiving text from John, as we do not get enough of the Bread of Life in year B!
    Anyhow, I was struck by a quote on text week about overcoming chasms.
    As we reflect on Thanksgiving Day we need to remember that once Jesus was the outsider and as we think about Thanksgiving, (for most of us) our forefathers/mothers were also strangers. We live in times of separateness and are not always welcoming to the strangers, thus chasms are created We need to overcome the things that separate us and remember our oneness in Christ.

  50. Chiming in on the ap preaching thread. I did my internship under and awesome supervisor. T. told me if I wanted to preach a block of sermons so I could really get a feel for the weekly grind, he was fine with that. (T. loves preaching and is good at it...but also recognized how he could help my growth).

    I preached the entire Lenten Season, two services a Sunday, from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday.

    It was a great experience.

    I know...not the typical pattern of leadership...but is it possible to begin to change the concept of leadership as HOS's and allow the associates to have equal footing in the preaching schedule.

  51. When I was "2nd staff" the preaching wasn't equal, altho many other aspects were. Still we yielded to "expectations" for who preached when. I agreed to that but now realize we set those expectations as much as yielded to them.
    Hooray for SP's who allow AP's to preach a block or share key sundays. I do think we set expectations and often our own self worth (mine is, I confess) tied to when and how often we preach. (B/c after all we don't do anything all week...right?)

  52. I've got a ridiculous pumpkin cake about to come out of the oven (TWO STICKS OF MELTED BUTTER!) if anyone wants a little snack.

    Still nothing on paper, but my chores are mostly done or underway for the day, so I can stratch a way a little now.

    earthchick- mother of the year award! make up on to go to a swim a lesson - you so totally rock!

    Found a book on giving thanks on my son's shelf that is the kind of book that grown ups like but doesnt do much for kids (at least for my kid) BUT I mite be able to use it as a jumping off point anyway....

  53. I'll chime in on the associate preaching thing, too. I was offered larger "chunks" of consecutive week and even an OCCASIONAL big holiday. That second part usually depended on who was the HoS that I worked with. I had 3 in the 5 years I was there if that says ANYTHING. Anyway, all 3 offered me more preaching, but I never took them up on it. When they offered it no one ever offered to also take my other duties for that chunk of time. The problem with preaching as an associate where that is not deliberately built in as a primary focus of the position is that it ends up being something added on to an already full job in any given week. The rest of the stuff that usually keeps the AP working full-time without the preaching is still on the plate when a sermon/preaching is added to it. I found it way more stressful to preach as an associate than I do as a solo for sure. The time management piece was a part of it and jumping into the middle of the year was part of it, too. The block of consecutive Sundays would have helped that second issue, but the stress it would have created was never worth it to me.

    In that church with the first two HoS we traded of Christmas eve duties each year. Only one of us was ever there for the services; the other took vacation and was out of town since neither of us had family in the area. LOVED that. The final HoS I worked with didn't think he should be gone for Christmas Eve, so even when it was my year to plan and preach (he kept that part of the tradition, of course) he still hung around and was present. I still took my year off when it was his turn!

  54. Got a rough draft of a sermon here.

    I am kind of meh' about it. But I'm pooped and I need a nap. I'll revise when I get up.

  55. Admittedly, I only have a little bit of Head of Staff experience, but here is my read on my particular position.

    This church called me to preach and administrate. They called another pastor to focus on congregational care. They called another pastor to focus on youth and young adults.

    The other two pastors interpret the Gospel to the congregation through their particular ministries. I interpret the Gospel to the congregation through mine.

    In my job description preaching/leading worship is #1. In theirs it is far lower on the list. As She Rev pointed out, to add preaching weekly on TOP of their #1 tasks is adding more work to their schedule.

    That said, one of the pastors will eventually move to a Head of Staff position. By working with the other pastor we have gotten him into the schedule monthly so he can get more experience under his belt. I have also had him moderate Session (our board) and work in some other areas as his schedule will allow.

    I have had both associates ask me to preach instead because their regular loads were too much. They have even done this in the middle of the week. To take that from them is part of my job.

    I preach on Easter and Christmas Eve. It is in my job description and it is why the church Called me there. My trade off is that I also preach the following Sunday rather than having them participate in 'associates sunday'.

    That is how I am interpreting all of this at this point. It could change the longer I am there and when the associates change and have different interests.

  56. I'm home! I had to stop and make a hospital call on the way. Fortunately the person is doing better.
    Unfortunately, I have *nothing* written. No.thing. I do have a concept. I'm also exhausted. I think making an outline (which I don't usually do) might be the best strategy, but first I'm drinking some hot chocolate!

  57. kzj makes a good point about Sr. Pastor/Head of Staff job descriptions. Some are quite specific about preaching and even particular holidays. My only experience on a staff was in the Associate position, and while I missed preaching weekly, I didn't always like doing it when I had to, because in most cases it fell in a week when my colleague was away and I had both our jobs to cover.
    I also got to preach twice in Advent last year, which was one more time than the Sr. Pastor did, due to a Music Sunday. And he took the Sunday after Christmas. I did do the Sunday after Easter.
    Anyway, I think it's a misinterpretation to look at the whole thing as territorial. It's the nature of things that one person's job is preaching-oriented and the other person's isn't--unless the church intends to have more of a half-and-half schedule.
    And if Associates get sick of T-fig, imagine how solo pastors feel...

  58. Sherev, you are dead on the mark about preaching as an associate. It was incredibly hard on me, though I was never given a big holiday or a chunk of times. It was actually when the HofS was out of town, which also meant my pastoral care duties intensified and i was stillr esponsible for children, youth(which is often "odd" hours) and CE stuff.
    It is amazing to look back now and see how things are not thought out.

    I loved serving as a solo pastor, less people, but same duties and a much more appreciative (and understanding) group when things got hectic.

  59. Opps,. I forgot. Anybody want some popcorn or some oatmeal cookies?

  60. Hi, I'm back after the memorial service (which was 26 miles each way) and going to look again at my mini-sermon (keep it short, they said), which has more scratching on it that I'd like.

    May change. but not before 5:00. I'm going to try to wing it a little a five, which is somewhat stressful.

    lots of good conversation here about t-fig, Ctk, Advent, etc.

    Yes, it's tricky doing eschatology again right after All Saints, and right before Advent.

    Anyway, I have a little beginning and end taken from a children's message where I had a scepter, robe and crown, and put them on a child. I'm going to start the sermon by showing those things, and talking about our (lack of) experience with kings. segue why they were so imp "in the olden days" and why Jesus is a different kind of king. riff a little on the two words from the cross, and why the thief wanted to live in Jesus' kingdom.

    Then end with the end of the children's message. I asked the children. "Did Jesus have a crown?" (No) "Did Jesus have a robe?" (No.) "Did Jesus have a scepter?" (No.) What did Jesus have?

    One of the children said: Love.

    I was going to say a cross, but I like their answer better.

    that's prety much it.

  61. Good conversation. Job description is key to true expectations but so often the job is not detailed and the 2nd staff positions are a bear when you are preaching too.
    I agree that those weeks when the AP covers both jobs are often when you "get" to preach. Not good time management!

    I find the smaller church I serve as solo much more understanding of the time commitments I have. Amazing to do it all and feel less stressed. Perhaps there's a special place in heaven for APs/2nd staff people?

    Here's my sermon at my alternate blog spot. I think its better than the first time I used it, but then that was one of those "do it all" weeks we're talking about.

    I so enjoy all of you and this perspective.

  62. only one more thing I'll say about the associate/CtK-Tfig schedule, since I started it (sorry): it's true that solo pastors also have to do it every year. And it's also true that they get to preach on all kinds of other texts and themes every year, whereas Associates typically preach less (which I will freely admit I like, especially since it's an add-on to all my other stuff, as others have noted!) and so preaching CtK and TFig every year is 2 out of 10-12 (or, in my case, 18) Sundays a year rather than 2 out of 48-52. Somehow that just makes it feel more repetitive and boring, so I appreciate Heads of Staff who make it possible to get more variation and text experience. And those who are willing to accommodate youth sundays on those days, or having the AP be out on a field trip. :-)

    RE writing an actual sermon (for next week)...I thought about it. I prayed about it. I napped on it. I still have nothing written. It's on Psalm 122, and I may throw in Isaiah 2 (which I used for the call to worship), and the theme is Peace...I'm working on the idea that during Advent we don't just wait for God's peace to come into the world in Christ (though we do that) but also that we, through worship/prayer/service/etc are transformed to BE peace in the world, since we are the Body of Christ. Or something like that. As usual, I can't figure out a good way in, so therefore have no words at all.

  63. I know you all are working on sermons, so we can end this, but please remember that your Head of Staff is not preaching only either. I could go into detail but suffice to say I was a solo pastor for over 7 years. The work is not less, the herd of cats is just bigger.

    Bottom line: I'm guessing Head of Staffs get into heaven too.

  64. KZJ, yes they do :-) and certainly have a whole other share of grief to bear. It sounds like you are very conscious of the staff that serves with you. I think it comes with perspective and each position is different. Probably the things that bother us most (speaking of me here) are those I most struggle with when in leadership myself - The old fingerpointing with 3 pointing back at me.
    It's just nice to have this forum to throw out thoughts. where else do we get to vent to sympathetic ears?
    blessings to all

  65. RevNancyFitz, if I had a useful thought, you are welcome to jump on it and ride wherever it takes you. Good to know that someone else is around the same place I am so thanks. :-)

    Fascinating discussion about senior pastor, etc. I was associate for a little more than two years and the agreement was that I preached every other Sunday regardless of which Sunday it was. Likewise, things that fell during the week like Ash Wednesday. Frank was a super mentor.
    Now that I have a deacon, he preaches one Sunday a month, usually the second one. He has two part-time jobs so I am very happy he wants to preach this much. It has been good for both of us as he has grown in strength and I have enjoyed hearing what someone else has to say every so often.

    I am preaching Wednesday evening at a combined service with another parish. Haven't even begun to think about that one yet! Today was a long church history class. Lots of good thinking came out of it, though, and I am glad to have this chance to teach.

    Time to put on my nightgown and get comfortable. I may check out some football before rereading Luke in preparation for tomorrow. Y'all have a good night and a great tomorrow!

  66. So, I was apparently too wiped to do anything constructive. I'm approximately nowhere right now and don't have the getting started frame of mind I need. Ugh.

  67. Hello, pals!

    I took a break to grocery shop, during which I kind of worked through the ending of my sermon in my head, then I came home and knocked it out. I just pushed print. I have the prayer of the peeps and some other little liturgical bits to work on, and I need to run to my local Evil Empire Discount Emporium to get the prop for my Kids' Kirk, which sounds a little cheesy to me, but I am desperate:

    I'm going to buy some small, cheap hand mirrors. I'm going to have them in my purse, and I;m going to aks the kids to talk about "what God looks like". (Hopefully in 40-60 kids I'll have a couple of talkers.) Then I'll tell them I have a couple of snapshots of God in my bag, pull out the mirrors and let them (or some of them) take a look.

    It sounds a little cheesy to me, like I said. But does anybody else have a better idea?

  68. Kzj I really like the thoughtful way you outlined the division of responsibilities. When I was an assistant rector, it was conceptualized differently--I was called to assist him in whatever way he assigned me and that changed over time. I preached every other week, frankly, because he didn't want to preach any more often than that. I am grateful for that experience. He took Easter and Christmas Eve; I got the Easter Vigil which quite honestly I preferred b/c I LOVE the Easter Vigil. Other than that it was just how ever every other week turned out.

    So I've done baptism prep and finished up the bulletin for Thanksgiving Eve and bought some groceries, and now I must find an ending for the sermon I began before I left. Hopefully that won't take all night because I'd love to relax with a movie before bedtime. We'll see.

    Meanwhile I have some delicious hummus and pita chips -- help yourselves!

  69. It's 11:30 here and I'm giving up for the night, hoping that an ending will come while I sleep!
    Took time out to see Harry Potter with family and somehow couldn't get back into the groove.
    Hoping it will look different in the morning.
    Jules - I don't think your kids idea is cheesy - sounds fun - and it is November when I like to remind folks that we are all called to be saints - all God-like. hope you have fun with that.
    See you in the morning - I'm sure some of you will just be finishing off then!!!

  70. hey jules, I shook mine loose on a dog walk. funny how we have to move around sometimes for that to happen, eh?

    now I'm heading out to a party! Gotta take a shower first.

    blessings on you all still writing. I'll check back in when I get back.

  71. Jules, I thought your sermon was FANTASTIC.

    I've preached the early edition, which didn't suck.

    going to go home, rest and tweak a little...

  72. Jules, your sermon is AWESOME. The congregation who hears it will be blessed indeed.

  73. I'm on the pro-Jules team. Beautifully done.

    Mine, on the other hand? Not done. And my daughter is due home momentarily. This will be a later night than I like to have on a Saturday, methinks.

  74. Well, for someone who was all gungho earlier in the day, I'm feeling pretty meh about my draft. But I'm letting her rest for now so I can turn my attention to Sunday School prep.

    Also want to add my AMEN to Jules' fantastic sermon!

  75. Clocking out for the night. Blessings upon each of you, including those who may not have joined us yet.

    And remember:
    1) All will be well, the Holy Spirit has your back and
    2) If you've got a dog, walk it proud!

  76. I'm officially working on the sermon now. I've been working in fits and spurts in my head as I could through the day. And now I'm finally sitting at the keyboard trying to recapture those thoughts.

  77. Just joining the party - yes, it is the third Sunday of the month, which is my Sunday to preach. The discussions have me wondering about my responsiility of intentionally taking a half-day for sermon prep in the third week each month, instead of trying to work it around all of the other stuff. hhhmmm...

    we had diocesan convention this weekend which I thought would provide some fodder (it did last year) - and it might have if I had been in the meeting. However, as the lone youth minister in the diocese, I ended up hanging out with the teen pages all day - great fun and some fodder.

    I am looking at helplessness: CtK seemed very out of place to me when I joined the Episcopal church - like Lent gets thrown into a perfectly lovely season and right before advent... weird. Tonite I'm wondering about the common thread of helplessness - hanging on the cross and coming as a newborn babe. Both acts completely necessary to the full story of salvation. The last Sunday of the church year and the first Sunday of the next to follow. What can I make of that thought?

  78. late to the party, and tweaked after the first go-round. Unabashedly theological, I'm afraid. here it is.

    Re: Head of Staff and Associates, I'm not Head of staff, but I do the scheduling for 4 preachers, two churches and 6 worship services. I need a degree in higher math to figure it out. It's too complicated to think about who has repeats.

    Praise the Almighty that no one has egos that are too big!

  79. I have to say, as someone who has neither been an AP nor had one on staff (I was solo for 4.5 yrs and have been co-pastor with spouse for last 10), I have found today's conversation so interesting! DH and I split our preaching pretty much down the middle, with some shifting around here and there, and with a lot of looking back to see who preached what the last time through the Christian year as well as the last time through this particularly lectionary cycle. It feels complicated sometimes, but it sounds easy compared to what some of y'all with larger multiple staffs have to sort through. (we are HoS of a multiple staff, but without an AP: DCE, youth minister, music staff, and admin asst).

  80. What I can't stand is knowing I preached a really good sermon on this gospel text three years ago and also knowing I can't reuse it because it mentions my nearly-ex husband in a positive way and even though I could take that stuff out it hurts my feelings and this week has just had too much content, emotionally. I'm beat. I have almost a whole sermon, but I'm too tired to know if it's worth preaching and really worried that it's not. It's frustrating to put in so many hours in a week of work and not have enough of them available to create what feels like the right sermon.

  81. I now have a very rough draft and very sleepy eyes. How did I stay up so late consistently in seminary??
    Prayers for all preaching tomorrow - and those still writing tonite. May the Holy Spirit bless our work and rest.

  82. songbird, I hear you. here it is, 9:55. I have somewhat of a sermon for tomorrow, but I'm not satisfied with it. But I also preached two funeral this week (one of them this afternoon), and I don't know how much energy I have.

    I want to have a good sermon, and my mom is coming tomorrow, but I have the feeling it's just going to be so-so.

    I will be up for just a little bit more, trying to remember a little of the "riff" I did at 5:00.

  83. Now that I've actually read the whole old sermon, it doesn't go the way I thought it did when I just skimmed it. hmmmm

    Meanwhile, I am pretty distracted by Firefly via Netflix. It's probably time to focus on the sermon.

  84. (((songbird)))

    I have 2/3 of a sermon done. Part of me wants to go to bed now, believing that I'll get the other 1/3 done on Monday or something and still be fine.

    The other part of me knows perfectly well that I won't do that at all, I'll wait until this same time next Saturday night and be annoyed with myself that I didn't just finish it.

    Peppermint Candy ice cream, anyone?

  85. I'm back from a fun night out - dinner with a church member family and another family, friends of theirs. My husband has also played softball and football with the husband, and I guess you could say we're sort of courting them, inviting them to church and reaching out to them in that way. Sort of a "working" dinner in some respects, I guess, but not too much. It was a nice dinner.

    I think I'll read my sermon one last time since writing it last night, but I'm not going to make any major changes. Thanks for the feedback from those of you who came by. I'm feeling pretty good about it.

    Blessings on those still writing. I'll be with you in Spirit, but I'm going to hit the hay momentarily since somehow my Pearl seems to always sense when I have a whole night to sleep. While I appreciate that she loves me so much that she wants to spend extra time together at night, I would appreciate it more if she would NOT choose my sermon-free nights to wake up multiple times. Somehow she much know I have more time! Crossing my fingers for a full night's rest tonight!

    Preach on gals and pals!

  86. Also, I have just realized that my sermon is based only very very very loosely on the text. Very Loosely. I mean, the psalm mentions peace, and the theme of the Sunday is peace, so the sermon can be about peace right?


    Okay, off to make it more about the psalm. somehow.

    Remind me why I thought this Advent Psalm series was a good idea? preaching on the psalms is really hard. What was I thinking? I knew that, and still went for it. dumb.

  87. I'm still here, but I hope only for a few minutes.

    really hope I can move things around a little and suddenly, it will sound brilliant.

    wouldn't that be nice?

    if anyone is around, It would be nice to get to 100 comments tonight.

  88. Okay, I finished. Well, I got over the 1000 word mark, and for a holiday weekend with a long moment for mission scheduled, that's enough.

    I'm still not convinced it's *about* the psalm so much as tangentially related to the psalm.

    I'm going to put it away and forget all about it for a couple of days. I'll do some editing Tuesday, and post it on my blog for next weekend in hopes of some feedback and conversation.

    And now I'm headed to bed...night, all! Have fabulous Sundays!

  89. hi i'm here - but just for a minute to hug songbird (that sounds so very hard. as if he didnt wreck enough, he had to go and ruin a perfectly good sermon. oooo, i could just kick that guy in the shins.)

    and high five to jules (LOVE that sermon. thank you - it was a needed word around here this week)

    and in the world of gratitude, expressing relief that the Extremely Expensive TIckets For The Really Fun Thing We Are Doing To Celebrate Christmas of 2011 (and probably birthdays, anniversary's and every other holiday, too, because of see above about extremely expensive) have been found only 1/3 of the way into the recycle bin.

    So I can sleep tonite.

    Not looking at my sermon. Letting it rest like bread and will knock into shape in the morning.

    Peace, all. Sleep tite!

  90. After driving most of the day to get back from vacation, I'm here...with a loose idea for preaching Christ the King...but v. sleepy and wanting a nap. I always ask myself why I take vacation with this flow of days, getting back right before preaching, but sometimes it just can't be avoided.

    Glad most of us seem to be done or almost there!

  91. Juniper - what a relief!

    Diane - it's *way* too early to worry about 100 yet the RevNightOwls haven't even started cranking yet

    Now I have 2356 words to edit down to much closer to 1000-1200. That's better than 0.

  92. I'll help get to 100.

    Spent the morning at the churhc (breakfast with the property committee, then some work on sermon and e-mail while visiting with the folks putting new blinds up in my office, interspersed with actuallyu helping the crew with their varios tasks).

    Then this afternoon I spent a couple hours scrambling around on the roof (because apparently it would have bee too easy to put up the Christmas lights without a layer of snow to freeze my backside off).

    Then a potluck with a few church families. Unfortunately when we returned home from same and turned on the newlly hung lights...
    One string, in the middle of the bunch, totally dark. The lights after it in the series worked fine so obviously power is flowing, and the strings all worked when I tested them in the house. Now I have to work out a plan for what to check before I get back on the roof (should weather allow it)

  93. Oh right, the sermon....

    It is in a comfortab le place. I know where I want to go and I printed out the poem I want to read.

    Children's time??? Maybe some chatting about what they think a king is???????

  94. Gord...I just read CHANTING.
    I was thinking they do that north of us? Who knew?
    Chatting. I got it now.
    I a home from my "other" job with a well known toy store with odd hours.
    I will never, ever be mean to a store employee, anywhere, again.
    Except maybe K-Mart. They are mean.
    So, I need an ending and a quick time for children. The 5 (or so) kids at this church(for kids time) range from 3 to middle school. Ugh. That is hard.
    Anyhow, I am tired and ready to go to bed. Doin that 300 or so ending now. :)
    Blessings to SB and the rest of you that are in a qunadry over sermons and such. Prayers for all who struggle

  95. good night all. I'm done.

    It's not quite as short as I wanted it to be.

    but I'm done.

    take care.

    I need a little sleep.

  96. I finally got the sermon together.

    Now to switch computers to print it and put together the prayers.

  97. I am calling this turkey done.
    Off to prayers, like Vicar and then to bed I go.
    Somebody else get the lights, please?
    Oventina is my word verf. Sounds like some new toy...a doll that helps you cook.

  98. 1-4 Grace, maybe it's a small Ovaltine?

    I'm changing the ink cartridge otherwise everything would already be printed.

    Blessings on your Sunday

    my verification: riaticul

    is that the ritual of ridicule?

  99. I'm off to count my blessings instead of sheep .... zzzzzzzzz

  100. OK. I'm back at it. Decided to try and finish up before I came over here. Think I did it. IT's now 8:15 and time to hit the shower. I'll not send the sermon to my kindle just in case some inspiration comes in the shower - as it often does! LOL Great party - sending hugs and blessings your way for Christ the King/Reign of Christ sunday - I fudged and used both!

  101. After a few naps and fits and starts of work, I have a very rough outline, a hungry belly, and heavy eyelids. Let's hope I can get something on paper soon...

  102. Ugh. I've said everything I wanted to say and I only have 836 words. Ugh. And it's nearly time to get ready for the day.

  103. Whew. Done with 1263 words. Printing, then off to shower and get ready for church. Looking forward to a bit of a nap this afternoon...but not much of one before my evening appointment...

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

  104. I slept on it. Well, not literally. But I did read it over and let it marinate while I slept. I hope it preaches: Royal Watch.

  105. Good morning!

    the Holy Spirit told me that all of our sermons were going to preach.

    Blessings to you all!

  106. good morning everyone! got just over 2000 words which is longish for me, but figure I can go a little over sometimes (and the kitchen crew making our turkey dinner will be glad of a few extra minutes, I know!).

    thinking of you all this morning - many blessings on your proclaiming.

  107. Juniper, that makes me feel better- I am right at 2000 too, which is a little wordy for me. I cut about 100 this morning to get down to that, but I'm out of ideas for where to cut more.

    Will be ending by singing one line of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and hopinghopinghoping that the congregation will join me in singing the rest of one verse.

    Blessings on all y'all!

  108. earthchick - hope yours went well. turned out I could have trimmed some of the fat.....

  109. Ha! Juniper, yeah, I think I had some fat that needed trimming. I actually trimmed a fair amount right there in the service - which I hate to do, but it so needed it! I think overall it went all right, but by the end I was way sick of my own voice.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.