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This is Not Your Father's Preaching Style

Once in a sermon I made the point that for heaven-bound people, we Christians get too earthly-focused. I suggested stretching a metaphorical reminder across the front of our venerable sanctuary that would read, Lighten Up.

That went over real well in our historic, New England congregation. Older congregants labeled my suggestion as "flippant," "disrespectful," and "irreverent." The younger members, however, applauded when I said it (in demure Congregational style, of course).

Our church is unusual in that we're young. More than 80 percent who attend are in their twenties and thirties. In Boston, young people in church is an anomaly; young people in church on purpose is nothing short of miraculous.

Naturally, my preaching has developed a distinctive style. Much has been said and written about the importance of authenticity and narrative in preaching to younger people. I try to be authentic, and I do tell stories, but what preacher doesn't, regardless of congregational make-up?

Honesty and ...

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