Earlier this week I shared about open-source sermons, an idea I got after listening to Gary Hamel at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. The gist of the idea is to leverage the power of new media and give people the ability to contribute to the R&D process of my weekly message. I used Google Docs, Twitter and Facebook and let ‘er rip, not sure what would happen.
To my surprise, people gravitated toward the idea. Some even contributed. I even utilized some of the insights people shared. It was wild.
If you tuned into the webcast last night at Immersion, you heard me describe the process and thank the people who contributed. My friend Dave added some wisdom, so did @NeilGilbert and @bwgoods. Someone even gave me the wonderful image that’s at the top of this post (you need to read 2 Samuel 6:1-11 to have that make sense, though.)
I felt myself refreshed and encouraged by the response, and even changed the direction of the message based on some of the contributions. Simply wild.
Even after one week, this is making me re-think my sermon preparation strategy:
- If we believe that God’s Word is living and active, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it is saying something new and fresh to everyone who engages it?
- If I can incorporate others experience with the Word of God in tasteful ways, why wouldn’t I do that? As John Donne said, “No man is an island.” (I’m sure Donne would agree that no woman is either.)
- God’s Word is communal. The letters that Paul wrote that we now call the New Testament were read in community.
- Jewish rabbis hashed out the Scriptures together in midrash.
Contrast this with our modern messages. They are largely written in solitude by one person with very little interaction or feedback from real, flesh-and-blood people. Rob Bell once said that the “Scriptures are like a gem. The more your turn it, the more the light reflects and refracts through it.” If that’s true, wouldn’t I want as many eyes on the gem as possible, telling me what they see?
I’m not trying to be critical, just observant.Ã‚Â I’m not saying open-source sermons are the “right” way to go, but I do think there’s a whole lot of value in listening to what God’s Spirit says through other people.
So here’s your chance to join in the fun. I preach again on the 27th of August, so I’ve made the passage we’re using available here: http://bit.ly/imm-82709. Check out the text and join in the discussion; join in the open-source.
What would it take for you and your community to go “open-source”? Is this something you feel would be beneficial?