Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bob Russell, Part 5: A Potpourri of Q&A

Bob Russell workshopjpg_thumb[1]This series, summarizing and commenting on Bob Russell’s presentation at the Oregon Christian Convention last Friday, has gone on long enough  Today, I want to close the series with kind of a potpourri of Questions and Answers asked by preachers from around the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  There were numerous other questions, but I have  only selected the ones that seemed most pertinent to the purpose of this blog. 

Q: How has your sermon prep changed over the years?

  • From the beginning he spend four hours a day five days a week in sermon prep. That habit lasted his entire life. He credits that with the quality & perseverance of his preaching.
  • The biggest difference he could identify is that he preached on a team toward the end, (only preached about half of the time, but he spent at least as much time in prep).
  • He also began to be part of a preaching preparation group
    • They could draw on the strengths of one another.
      • One better at outlining
      • Another better at illustrations & quotes.
    • 4-6 seemed to be the biggest that this group should be. 
    • Not everyone has the personality to buckle down and do this sort of group work.

Q: Looking back what things would you not spend as much time doing?

  • Too much time in counseling: found solid referrals
  • Too much time doing hospital visitation: recruited a team of hospital callers.
  • “The church is not a pyramid with one guy at the top; It is a circle where everyone ministers to one another. We forget that and our churches forget that.”

Q: What was the key to your growth in Louisville?

  • “In all the large dynamic churches there is an air of anticipation that God is going to do something today.”  We need to ask “Is something significant going to happen here?”
  • Stressed changed lives: -people are not as impressed today with numbers. But people do get excited about seeing lives changed.
  • Russell said that from Monday noon on, he is asking people all week about their reaction to what he is going to say in his sermon.
  • He absolutely does not credit the growth to a vision:  his own or others.  He said, “None of us ever would dream that Southeast would become what it has become.”

Q: What question do you wish preachers would ask?

  • About the current lack of church discipline.  I have hardly found a minister under 30 who, when presented with the situation of a young couple who wants to join church, but are living together, who would refuse them membership until they were married.  He specifically spoke of a group of 8 young preachers just out of seminary: all said, “Let them in, they will change in time”.
  • Russell:  We are shouting in grace & shallow in repentance.
  • John Stott:
    • Truth without love is Dogmatism
    • Love without truth is Sentimentality
    • Truth with love is Christianity

Q: (from a staff person): How did you relate to your staff? 

  • Encouragement is huge. BUT…
  • Encouragement means more when you occasionally rebuke.
  • Nothing encourages staff like a gift certificate or a gift of money.

Q: What authors would you recommend preachers read? (This was the question to which his answer was most disappointing to me): 

  • “Oh, I wouldn’t recommend anyone that you are not already reading: Wiersbe, Stott, Colson, perhaps Andy Stanley.”

Cal: I find that pretty sad both that two of the four are dead, two of the four are more popular, superficial writers and none of them are books that would require more than a layman’s familiarity with the Bible or theology or preaching. 


So…that was it.  There really was a lot in the couple of hours that Russell spoke, some good, other parts a little more disappointing, but well worth my time and the time of those who were there.  Thoughts?  Reactions?

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