Last week Pastor Scott and I attended the Byberg Preaching Conference, an annual Northwest conference primarily for Lutheran clergy. The sessions led by Craig Satterlee were great and wonderfully informative and the time to meet up with other Lutheran clergy and do a little networking were invaluable. Like most conferences, one of the first questions that anyone asks is “Where are you from?” In this context, the question was more about what church you were from then what area of the Northwest you lived in. Once people found out what church I was from and that I was the intern, they also asked what school I went to. It was a singular joy, to see the slight look of confusion on everyone’s faces when I told them that I was a student at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.
I grew up in Lutheran and had even planned on going to a Lutheran seminary. And then I chose to do something different and it has been a great experience. I have feel like I am able to be a pastor in a much more holistic way than some of my colleagues who are coming out of traditional seminaries-one of the benefits of going to school with a bunch of therapists. But at the same time, going to a young school, with a small faculty has limited the number of voices which have shaped my time at school. A really practical example of this was my preaching class, which focused more on getting in touch with the Holy Spirit so that I could offer a charismatic preaching experience, then it was about preparing a sermon.
The Byberg Conference really worked out to be a great introduction to preaching, and provided me a different voice that I have missed over the course of the last few years: the Lutheran one. Something that the presenter suggested during the conference is to consider multiple voices when writing a sermon. You can do this by talking to others outside the church about it. Writing in a bar instead of an office. Or even trying different style of preaching. As I think about ways to share the good news I want to make sure to listen to other voices, those who have formed me as a child, those which have formed me in the classroom, and those that I may meet on the street.