I have gotten nothing but positive feedback about moving away from the lectionary and into a sermon-series mindset. To be clear - I don't think there is anything wrong with the lectionary! I just think I had gotten to a point where I wasn't feel inspired by the cycle and I needed something to kick start me.
This week Jesus talks about the law and the prophets. I wasn't really sure what to do about a children's sermon, so I ended up using an apple to talk about the different parts of God. An apple has different parts - peel, flesh and core - just like God has different parts - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was a pretty good seasonal visual, which I liked - I probably didn't think the whole "bring a sharp knife up to the children's sermon to peel the apple" part through, but it all worked out! I think if I were to do it again I would set up a table with an actual apple peeler. Next time!
Continuing with our sermon series on The Sermon on the Mount, this weeks sermon focused on the passage where Jesus says, "You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world." I had a really great idea to do a children's sermon where we all tried salt-free popcorn and then added salt to see the difference in taste but apparently salt-free microwave popcorn is not a thing? At least it wasn't at Stop & Shop. The "healthy" ones all have sea salt. I suppose I could have used a popcorn maker, but that wasn't going to happen on a Sunday morning, ha!
Anyway, this is a text that is kind of hard to preach because it's fairly straightforward. But there were three things jumped out at me that I thought were worth reinforcing, so I just did a sermon in kind of a bullet-point format instead of just making one point (if that makes sense?). I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from my congregation, so I hope you get something out of it, too!
Hi friends! We kicked off the program year at RCC this weekend with a fun Rally "Weekend" - we had a Rally Night on Friday night with a cookout, games, s'mores, movie and fellowship for all ages! Apparently this was an old tradition at RCC that hasn't happened in a few years (this was my 9th Rally Weekend at RCC and I've never experienced it, so it's been that long, at least!), so we thought we'd do it again this year and had a great time! The Youth Group stuck around for a lock-in that night and it just kind of put us in the spirit for Rally Day on Sunday.
We did a blessing of the backpacks on Sunday during worship - we invite the kids to bring in their backpacks from home and we put tags on them and then say a blessing over them. It was great to have such a wonderful turnout with our families (42 kids total!).
We kicked off a 12-week sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount this weekend by looking at The Beatitudes. I started by talking about why I chose a scripture-based sermon series (as opposed to a thematic one) for this fall and then talked broadly about the Sermon on the Mount before focusing on the Beatitudes.
This is it for our summer sermon series on hospitality! This week is Rally Day and the beginning of a 12-week sermon series on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), which will bring us through Thanksgiving.
It was fun to look at hospitality this summer - I actually had a lot of great feedback from people who gave me tangible ideas and suggestions of ways that we, as a church, can improve. I hope this is one of those sermon series that we keep talking about, long after it's over.
The question we answered in this final week was, how can we create a space where people feel welcome?