How a cross-cultural experiment with a half-dozen church leaders offered me a fresh perspective.
I’m not sure why I suddenly noticed a new angle. Or why I hadn’t seen it in the first place. A few days after my message on the story of Joseph’s accusation by Potiphar’s wife, it occurred to me that the biblical narrative describes an ethnic minority being falsely accused of sexual assault against an ethnic majority. Without a trial or evidence, the man was immediately imprisoned. The application now seemed clear, but I had already preached the sermon.
A fellow pastor, Brian Leong from Lord’s Grace Christian Church in Mountain View, California, observed, “It’s somewhat dangerous the way I often end up writing sermons in isolation.” I could relate.
So last summer, a few of us in the Bay Area set out to change our sermon preparation habits—not just for the goal of collaboration, but also to seek out diverse perspectives. Several pastors from different ethnic backgrounds prepared a sermon series together to preach in their individual churches to address the political division we were seeing in our communities.
The concept of collaborative sermon preparation is not uncommon in multisite churches or online preaching groups, but as I learned, many pastors could benefit from the insights and empathy gained from cross-cultural and even cross-denominational collaboration.
I wrote a six-week series, and a core team of pastors refined it together. Then as a practical display of the topic, several dozen churches across the San Francisco Bay Area preached on unity through a series we called “One Kingdom. Indivisible.”
As an additional challenge, we wondered, could we go one step further and prepare the content collaboratively? Several months later, our church began planning …