Author Topic: Old sermons  (Read 748 times)

Jeremy Loesch

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Old sermons
« on: August 09, 2021, 03:35:13 PM »
Hello.  I'm just curious what you all who are clergy do with your old sermons.  My dad retired in 2007 after 40 years then served as a vacancy and interim pastor until 2018.  He also volunteered with LCEF in their Consecrated Steward program.  He saved all of his sermons.  And I have them as my parents are in the process of moving into a 2BDR apartment in a comprehensive care facility in my town.  He has a file of sermons from his vicarage congregation, a file of sermons for Whitsunday/Pentecost, Epiphany, Sundays after Epiphany, Transfiguration.  He has files for Sundays after Trinity then Pentecost (A, B, and C), Saints Days, etc.  I've gone through them and pulled out a few.  I found my brother's baptismal sermon and it was four pages.  I found my baptismal sermon and it was a 3x5 card with some underlined comments on it.  I'm keeping some evaluation sheets I found filled out by Richard Caemmerer and John Pfitzer, who would become my dad's father in law and my grandfather. 

I'm not going to hang on to them.  Dad doesn't want me to hang on to them. 

But what do you all do with your sermons?  I used to keep them on a flash drive.  Now I guess they are saved in the cloud.  But I don't really do manuscripts.  I do pretty full outlines. 

Just curious what you do.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Old sermons
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2021, 04:06:49 PM »
While I print about a manuscript for the pulpit, it is thrown away afterward. A copy is kept on my computer (and probably should be kept in a cloud server; something to think about).  I regularly refer back to previous sermons and having them in digital format is helpful.

As I approach retirement your question is interesting.  I'm sure my children will have no need for a database of all my sermons.  None are going into the pastoral ministry.  I want to write more in retirement, and therefore will want to have access to them during that time of writing.  But aside from any that may have specific personal meaning to my family (as when I preached at my eldest daughter's wedding, etc.), I suppose they'll just wipe my hard drive clean after I die and recycle my laptop.

Kind of humbling to think about it.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

peter_speckhard

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Re: Old sermons
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 04:13:45 PM »
In the novel Gilead an old pastor ponders all the boxes of his sermon manuscripts in his attic. He figures he has written more theology on a word count basis than St. Augustine. It is tough to think of it as garbage. As with anything, the day will come when someone regrets not having them— a distant descendant perhaps, who would find them very interesting— but probably not as much as people in the meantime regret having all kinds of boxes in storage.

I generally only have manuscripts for funeral sermons. People like them as part of their remembrance of the deceased.

Charles Austin

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Re: Old sermons
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2021, 04:37:21 PM »
I have several decades of sermons stored digitally. When I was active, I would sometimes refer to "old" sermons to see how I handled the text or if there were any exegetical learnings that might be useful. Rarely could I repeat very much of a sermon, as they were usually written for a particular time, place and congregation. Sometimes the main idea or message could be re-crafted for a different time and place.
I have maybe a dozen "generic" or "topical" sermons which could "work" in almost any setting and were sometimes turned into other types of writing, like the last chapter in my book on building sand castles.
Paper manuscripts? Not since about 1982. And I'm sure I tossed out ones older than that.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2021, 04:39:01 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Old sermons
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2021, 06:42:52 PM »
At present, I have all my sermons stored digitally in my computer and on a back-up drive. I have have hard copies of the manuscripts that I preached from stored on a shelf in the garage. I am considering getting rid of the hard copies. I'm pretty sure our sons don't want to inherit them.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Benke

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Re: Old sermons
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2021, 07:30:01 PM »
I have all my sermons stored in my head.  It's an amazing space because it deletes just like your phone battery re-charges, overnight, creating more space for new sermons and sermonic thoughts, which work their way through the brain pan all the way to the "delete between 12 and 4 AM" bin.  Sermons are, at least for me, way more art than science, so they're like a painting that shimmers onto the scene, strikes the Gospel chord, and then shimmers away over time.
  I enjoy sermons where I'm surprised by what I said and the way I said it, right there on the spot, because they're for this specific group at this specific time with this specific text in service of Jesus, and I trust the Word to produce words and sentences and thoughts in which those folks find Jesus' challenge and comfort.   

If I want to hear a sermon I have preached, the wonders of Face Time Live make that available to me.  And to you.

Dave Benke

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Old sermons
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2021, 09:01:05 PM »
I have maybe a dozen "generic" or "topical" sermons which could "work" in almost any setting and were sometimes turned into other types of writing, like the last chapter in my book on building sand castles.
Paper manuscripts? Not since about 1982. And I'm sure I tossed out ones older than that.

Rev. Dr. James Glass, a former President of the Lancaster Theological Seminary of the United Church of Christ wrote The Art of Spiritual Snakehandling which was a collection of his six stock sermons.

The first chapter was an apologia of why a good preacher should ONLY have six sermons.

Chutzpah.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
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