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The Odd Couple of Sermon Preparation

Before I entered pastoral ministry, a seminary professor's life convinced me that a fondness for deeper study and a passion for ministry don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I'm not sure I can pronounce the name of the theologian of whom this professor wrote his doctoral dissertation. But I can pronounce most of the names of the unwed mothers to whom he and his wife have opened their home. His family has also ministered to terminally ill patients and drug addicts. Their home has become a sort of halfway house.

As I watched him, I realized his theology fed his pastoral practice. Decisions about life support systems for comatose patients, for example, emerged from his theological study of the image of God.

I cringe when I hear voices suggesting the need for relevance cancels out the scholarly side of ministry. My friend showed me sermons can be both relevant and rich in substance.


Preachers legitimately doubt the effectiveness of preparing sermons by studying lexicons, ...

From Issue:Spring 1994: Worship
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