The Power of Mere Words

Last January I started writing a monthly pastor's letter to the congregation, and frankly, I was concerned about how many would read it. Concerned because I broke all the rules.

Other than printing the copy in two columns, I didn't do anything to make it visually appealing: no pictures or colors, little white space, no large type or special fonts, even for the headings. Just as daunting, the letter was almost two pages long. I didn't have an adequate printer, but I figured I'd start where we were and upgrade later.

Given our turbo-powered world of communications, on occasion I've wondered if my preaching comes across with the sensory minimalism of that pastor's letter. After all, preaching is as low-tech and scant-budget as it gets. Most of my listeners are accustomed to movies powered by special effects, by Hollywood budgets that can soar beyond $100 million. For the 1996 Super Bowl, Pepsi spent $5 million just to produce its commercials.

Can preachers compete? In creative moments I've ...

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