Ahh, summer is here at last. Time for the beach, barbeque, and hermeneutics.
Visiting with Pastor Bob the other day, I asked, “Well, are you experiencing the summer slump yet?”
“Are you kidding?” Bob exclaimed. “Why, summer is my favorite time of year!”
“That’s unusual,” I responded. “I thought summer tended to be a bit slower for most churches.”
“Not here at Old First Church,” Bob insisted. Why, we’re setting all kinds of attendance records this summer!”
“That’s amazing. How are you doing that during the summer months?” I enquired. (After all, enquiring minds want to know.)
“Well, we started with a theme: Have a Blockbuster Summer at Old First Church! Then I announced a series of sermons based on the big hit movies. Why, I did a whole month on Star Wars alone!”
Growing a bit concerned, I asked, “How did you manage a whole month of sermons on one movie?”
“Easy as slicing through blast doors with a light-saber,” Bob asserted. “The first message was called, ‘The REAL Phantom Menace!'”
“Was that about Satan?” I asked.
“No, that one was about the new church down the street,” Bob remarked. “Then I did a sermon called ‘Reaching Jar Jar: The Challenge of Cross-Cultural Missions.'”
“I’m sure that was edifying,” I said, with increasing discomfort.
“You bet. Had a lot of tapes sold on that one — and the Bible action figures sold like hot cakes! Then I preached another sermon entitled ‘Be a Jedi for Jesus!’ The young people liked that one. Our pre-sermon drama was a live recreation of a lightsaber battle. Turned out to be a real crowd pleaser — and nobody even needed stitches afterward!”
Seeking to move the conversation forward, I observed, “Well, sounds like your church heard a lot about Star Wars this summer.”
“Oh, that was just the start of it,” Bob proclaimed enthusiastically. “I started my new series on the Tarzan movie, and I can already tell it’s going to be a big hit with the families.”
“You may have to help me on that one,” I said. “What exactly is there in Tarzan to inspire preaching?”
“My first sermon was called ‘It’s a Jungle Out There!’ I denounced the evils of contemporary culture and the way that technology has chipped away at our sense of community. You should see how many hits we got on our website after that baby!”
Bob continued: “As the summer goes on, there are new movies coming out every week. There’s no shortage of sermonic material. And if things ever get a bit weak — like, you know, if there’s a new Jim Carrey movie — I can always reach back and pick up a popular older movie, like Titanic. In fact. I’m working on a sermon from Titanic right now, called ‘There Is a King of the World, and It Ain’t Leo!’ I’m expecting to catch some backlash on that one, but we messengers of God have to expect to encounter opposition from time to time when we remain faithful.”
“Well, I’m sure you’re busy,” I said, gathering my things to go.
“Absolutely. I’ve got to do some studying for next Sunday’s sermon — my copy of Variety just arrived in the mail!”

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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