Preparing a meal is more loving than throwing a shower of vitamin pills at someone. At the risk of overworking the analogy, here are some thoughts on pulpit cooking options. I’ll let you evaluate each one:
1. Fast Food Preaching. It is prepared quickly, in a very standardized process, with standard content, high on application, but almost bereft of nutrition. Some people get addicted to it. Some people grow sick of it.
2. Home Delivered Fast Food. It is the same as number 1, but you didn’t even have to go and get it. It was delivered by the internet delivery moped and saved you a whole load of time.
3. Home Delivered Fast Food Stolen. Once you get it delivered, you hide the box and pretend that you cooked it. There is a sensed lack of integrity, but you think everyone’s nice comments are genuine.
4. Thrown Together Leftovers. Again, short on time, you pull together scraps from here and there. They don’t necessarily go together, but what you heard from him and what you read over there and what is on your mind once you pause to think about it . . . all served on one sermon plate.
5. Good Food Disconnected. This is better, you have done some cooking. But you haven’t grasped that while all food may be good food, not all good food goes together on the same plate.
6. One Favorite Recipe. You have learned to do a mean chili con carne, so that’s what you cook. Every time. Guests coming? Chili con carne. Sorted. Unless, of course, they come twice. Works better if you are a traveling chef, unless people swap venues and then things get complicated.
7. Good Ingredients Cooked the Wrong Way. You take your chili con carne recipe and just replace the ingredients. Problem is that it doesn’t work with a lamb joint, cooking chocolate or a fruit selection. Forcing every Bible text into the same sermon shape may not be such a great solution!
8. Good Ingredients Cooked the Right Way. Please cook salmon differently than beef. Deal with each text and congregation and situation according to what and whom they are.
9. The Fast Feast. Seven good but random courses back to back in half an hour, without either break in delivery or connection in content. Not ideal.
10. Non-Gourmet Home Cooked Healthy Meal. It isn’t exciting. It won’t win a prize. But it may win hearts as you give of yourself to those you love. And over time, it will generate health like nothing else.