Resource Highlight: Journey: From Text to Congregation
If you have flown on commercial airlines, you may have noticed circles of green dotting the landscape five or six miles below. Those lush dots are created by wheeled center pivot drip irrigation systems. But when I was a boy living on a West Texas cotton farm, my two younger brothers and I were the “wheels” that moved the half-mile long, four-inch diameter, 40-foot lengths of aluminum sprinkler irrigation pipe across my father’s fields. Every day of the summer. Twice a day at six o’clock (my father often reminded us that most “town kids” didn’t know that there were two “six o’clocks”).
Though it has been over 45 years since I last had any close encounters with human-propelled irrigation pipe, for me there remains no better sound to wake to than that of rain falling on the roof. That sound meant we would not move irrigation pipe that morning, so I could stay in bed. Raindrops still signal rest, respite, relief.
It occurs to me that, to some degree, the demands associated with preparing to teach and preach every seven days among our congregations parallel the demands of moving irrigation pipe in the summer on our farm. The unrelenting nature of that sort of ministry task and that kind of farm work feels much the same to me. Both wear a person down.
I have now entered my 35th year in full-time ministry. In the second or third year with my first congregation, a nearby mentor invited me to attend a preaching seminar with him. I came away from the event refreshed, having gained homiletical and exegetical insights, having made new ministry friends, and having worshiped solely as a participant rather than as a leader. Nearly every year since, attending at least one such seminar has been on my annual agenda.
The Siburt Institute for Church Ministry is reviving ACU’s preaching seminar, Journey: From Text to Congregation, and for me this is welcome news. By faith I can already hear the sound of rain on my roof.