Friday, March 27, 2009

Performers In the Pulpit

The current issue of Christian Century has an interesting article on four preachers who either in their past or present were performers imagein one way or another.  (“Stand and Deliver” pp. 20-23) The point of the article is to ask, “What can preachers learn from professional performers in the weekly exercise of their preaching responsibilities?”

The article features four preachers who were/are:

  • A former stand up comedian
  • A former college basketball sports announcer
  • A former opera singer
  • A current professional storyteller

Without just excerpting the article, the conclusions they draw are these:

  • Preachers don’t practice enough (“Some people might be gifted enough to [know when to pause, figure out how to get from A to B to C in his sermon and where he wants certain reactions] in church on the spot, but honestly, not very many.”)
  • Preachers don’t smooth out the wrinkles in the service. (“They don’t realize that professionals practice in order to be more spontaneous.”)
  • Preachers don’t make their presentations interesting enough. 

It is really a helpful article.  If you have access to  the print issue, I would suggest you check it out.  Otherwise, in a couple of weeks when the next issue comes out, you can check out the article on

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