Preaching, Teaching and Reaching

Nothing is set in stone as yet, but it appears I may be making regular pulpit appearances around northern Maine in the coming months.

I had a very good conversation with the district superintendent Wednesday expressing my willingness to serve as pulpit supply as needed. It is a continued fulfillment of my ordination as a  teaching elder that dates back to the 1990s.

Her parting words were “I’m sure you’ll be hearing from us.” Well, today I received an e-mail requesting my service. If all is confirmed, I’ll be spending three Sundays in September sharing the Word with congregants at Howland (ME) United Methodist Church.

I made  the pulpit supply request because I feel called to do more in this season of life. In short, as an elder, I have been commissioned to provide spiritual oversight of the congregation in collegial cooperation with ministers and deacons. My congregation changed. I was initially ordained {elders are ordained for life} at Tyre (NY) Reformed Church, with the ordination accepted when I transferred to West Fayette (NY) Presbyterian Church. In both congregations, I became an integral part of the community, pitching in wherever and however I was needed — including pulpit supply. When I migrated  to Maine, I also became active in the local church, this time Dover-Foxcroft United Methodist Church. This also includes pulpit supply.

So it became a natural next step to share the call to a wider audience after much thoughtful prayer and reflection. Preparing a sermon deepens my understanding of the Word of God. It deepens my faith.

I never professed to being a “preacher.” Instead, I try to tell stories that not only explains the words in Scripture, but also bring relevance of 2,000 plus year old words to 21st century listeners. And I always open with the words, May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Praise God!

Transitioning to teaching, I will be facilitating a six week program on Taking the Fear Out of Writing. The classes start next week (June 3) and will run through July 8.

I’m excited about the class and looking forward to taking some of the fear from seven — that’s right — seven — participants at The Commons at Central Hall here in Dover-Foxcroft. This is the second time I have facilitated a writing course at The Commons. Last fall, we had four in the class. This year, the interest just kept building and building and building!

Writing doesn’t have to be daunting. We write all the time. Why not make our communication more effective?

During the class, I will address the mechanics of writing. The basic recipe for any story – be it a letter, a press release, a short story or novel – is the same. What. When, Where, Why. How.

We’ll be touching on various type of writing as well — expository, narrative, persuasive, creative writing, poetry (with help from my friend, local poet and author Tom Lyford), and journaling. We’ll talk about word choices, sentence structure, and dialogue.

It should be a blast!

The final segue today is reaching. This little blog of mine continues to grow. We are up to over 850 blog followers, 500 Facebook followers and 100 Twitter followers. That means, these words today have the potential to be seen by over 1,500 people!

I remember the early days when I had less than 50 followers — and most of them family and close friends — with no Facebook or Twitter presence.

I can attribute a lot of the growth to the success of my first two books, Heaven Shining Through and Wisdom From a Father … one dad’s thoughts on life. I established a second Facebook page — an author page, @wisdomfromafather. I also finally dipped into the Twitter universe.

I’m hoping the reach will continue even more. I have tentatively planned a late June release of my newest book, My Name Is Sam … and Heaven Is Still Shining Through, which is an expansion of the novella Heaven Shining Through. I’m still working on plans to take the new book on the road in July and August, meeting and greeting with followers and readers. Specifically, I would like visit northern New Jersey (where the beginning of the book takes place), the Jersey Shore (which plays an integral part in the narrative), the greater Dayton, OH, area (where the end of the book takes place an where I found many new friends), and upstate New York (where I spent almost a quarter century). Even though I hate to ask, to turn this promotional tour into a reality, I am seeking backing at Fundly. In return, I will send you a signed copy of the book!

I don’t throw these numbers out lightly. I have been blessed.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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3 Responses to Preaching, Teaching and Reaching

  1. A teaching elder named Joe
    shall for Christ strike a mighty blow.
    He’s off to far Maine,
    to folk there explain
    the Gospel in which they must grow.

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