What to Leave on the Cutting Room Floor
The distinction between studying the text like a scholar and planning the sermon like a pastor.
When Robert Zemeckis was well into filming the first footage of Back to the Future, he realized that much of what he was capturing on film wasn't quite right. Once this insightful Hollywood director concluded that the young Eric Stoltz was not right as Marty McFly, he knew that a casting change would result in piles of unusable film, which would have to be discarded on the cutting room floor. But Zemeckis' bold decision to give the lead role to Michael J. Fox midway through production proved to be just what moviegoers would need to bring the time traveller's story to life.
I trust that many preachers can identify with the pain of these kinds of costly mid-course corrections in their weekly sermon prep. So much of what we work on in our study never makes it into the pulpit—and for good reason! If the sermon is to effectively hit the mark, much of what we generate at our desks doesn't belong in the finished product. Consider the numerous exegetical rabbit trails, the ...