Someone e-mailed me the other day to alert me that my name had appeared in an article in Wikipedia. Apparently an old friend had gone to the entry about my seminary alma mater and listed me as a “notable alumnus” (along with several prominent cattle thieves and televange­lists). So, as is normal when someone tells you your name has been used, I went to see for myself.

For those who may have been sleeping under a rock for the last few years, Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is created by the readers. According to the “Wikipedia” listing in Wikipedia, “As of July 25, 2007, Wikipedia has approximate­ly 7.9 million articles in 253 languages,

1.91 million of which are in the English edition. This makes it the world’s largest, most extensive and fastest growing ency­clopedia ever compiled. It has been writ­ten collaboratively by volunteers around

In other words, if you know a lot about widgets, you can create an article about them that will then be available to anyone interested in widgets. Or if someone else has already created an article but you find errors or omissions, you can go to the Wikipedia entry and fix it. However, that doesn’t stop someone else from coming behind you and reversing your handiwork, and so on and so on. Sounds a bit like the process of weeding my lawn.

Nevertheless, it has certainly caught on, ranking among the top 10 websites in traf­fic worldwide. And as any megachurch leader could tell you, anything that popu­lar has to have something going for it.

So it occurred to me that maybe the world of preaching could use that Wiki­experience of community collaboration. Perhaps we need to launch Wiki-Sermon, the collaborative sermon writing program. For example, suppose you want to preach

Pastor Bob comes online and adds the first point of the sermon: “The Holy Spirit demonstrates his presence by the gift of tongues.” A few minutes later, Pastor Larry (representing a somewhat different theo­logical perspective) adds point tw “Not any more, He doesn’t. Tongues ended with the first century AD.” And things continue to develop as Pastor Tom adds a third point to the sermon: “Maybe if you get slain in the Spirit you’ll understand tongues a little better!” And Pastor Pat adds a thoughtful fourth point: “You heretic! Get saved!”

Recognizing that perhaps doctrinal sermons won’t be the best use of this technology, you decide to switch gears and start a Wiki-sermon entry on The Prodigal Son. After a little exegetical work on Luke 15, you start seeing the additions begin. Pastor Fred adds sermon point one: “The Prodigal Son was ungrateful – just like that lousy boy I raised!” Pastor Terry extends the thought with point tw “Churches can also be ungrateful. Boy, the stories I could tell!” And Pastor Doug helpfully adds point three: “And now a few words about baptism.”

And with that, you close your laptop, open your Bible, take out your legal pad and rediscover the beauty of low-tech sermon preparation.

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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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