Preaching With a Chip On Your Shoulder–Don’t do it!

I had a thought the other day (just one). I was reading back over old sermons that I had preached over the last five years or so and one of the things I noticed about them was that they almost seemed angry. I’m not saying there was no Gospel in them, but I’m also not going to say that the Gospel predominated in all of them either. Shame on me. My point is, I think that I have often preached “with a chip on my shoulder,” ticked off at all the unfaithful louts who refuse to come to church, use the Sacrament, come to confession, etc. Of course, none of those people are ever there to hear my rants. I don’t know why it is, but it seems that in writing sermons I forgot that the people I am preaching to are not the “unfaithful louts who refuse to come to church, etc.” They have come to hear the Word of God. Perhaps I should reserve the rants and speeches about church attendance and so forth for those “unfaithful louts” when I visit with them and preach to those who are actually there on Sunday. Any thoughts?

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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3 Responses to Preaching With a Chip On Your Shoulder–Don’t do it!

  1. David says:

    You too? Gads, I’m embarrassed at some of the sermons I’ve written through the years. I sound angry as well.

    My move to Momence was just what the doctor ordered. My sermons are less angry and more focused on the Gospel rather than trying to mold Lutherans with my bare hands.

  2. Pr. H. R. says:

    Best advice I’ve had for getting that out of your system to the right people is: work on Sunday afternoon by visiting your delinquents.

    It took me a long time to bite the bullet on this one. I like my Sunday afternoons. But the pastor who suggested it was right: 1) folks are home and 2) the Law is already think in the situation: “Why, Pastor…what could he be here for on a Sunday afternoon out of the blue. . . “

    It’s the most effective way I’ve found to reach the folks who need to hear the world. Sometimes you get a curt response in the doorway, sometimes they invite you in, and sometimes they even come back. But it’s a good way to get a handle on a duty that I had struggled to fulfill: calling the delinquent to repentance.

    +HRC

  3. Rev'd-Up One says:

    Yes, I am guilty of this as well. Some time ago my wife came to me and said, “I don’t enjoy coming to church and seeing you. You always appear to be angry and you are sometimes short with me.” I appreciated my wife being honest with me. If I appear to her as one angry, how must the faithful who do come to church see me? This is a very dangerous sickness for the pastor to carry around. I’m afraid it infects the sheep.

    The advice given above is good. I recently attended a district workshop and one of the many topics of instruction for the pastor and elder was in regards to delinquents. The same advice was given. Go see them on Sunday afternoon. Make visitation after three or four missed Sundays. Don’t call in advance. Just show up. Bring a bulletin and a manuscipt of that Sunday’s sermon.

    After doing this for about a month or so now, my wife has noticed a change when she arrives for Sunday Divine Service. She sees her husband as well as her pastor. She is well fed. Thanks be to God.

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