The church that prepared Redeeming Life to go across the Salt Lake valley to make disciples and gather them into a new local church is unique in many ways. It is our hope to bring some of that uniqueness with us to the west side of the valley.
One thing I've not see much in churches across the nation is team ministry that results in a shared pulpit. So I was amazed when I first saw it at Risen Life Church (our sending church). The result at their team ministry in the pulpit would typically mean about 50% of the sermons were preached by the lead pastor, 35-40% by the teaching pastor, and the reminder reserved for the preachers in training. The preachers rotate each week through the various series. It's a remarkable picture of team ministry for the sake of our Lord's Kingdom. Risen Life Church values team ministry and we do too.
Even more unique is the occasional 2-pastor sermon. These sermons--although only done once or twice per year--are prepared by both preachers and then preached together. Pastor Kevin Lund and Pastor Robert Marshall are masters at these sermons. You can typically expect to see one of these sermons in September for "Vision Sunday." The two men preach one sermon in the same space, at the same time, but from both of their perspectives.
At Redeeming Life Church, Pastor Brett and I discuss each sermon series. In addition, we discuss every sermon, regardless of who is preaching. I tend to preach about 75% of the sermons and Pastor Brett picks up the other 25%. At some point, we may add another preacher in training. And this Sunday, we tried our first true 2-pastor sermon.
Last year we both preached on Vision Sunday, but we each took about half the time. It was more like a Sunday with two sermons. But our 2-pastor sermon out of Ecclesiastes was a little different. We prayed about the needs of our church for a couple months. We discussed how we could best help our church with a needs-based, topical sermon in our holiday break between the last series in James and our upcoming series in Hebrews 11. We looked at different texts to see how they might answer the issues we felt God was bringing to the surface. We selected some Scripture together. Then we went to work on a manuscript. After the sermon draft was done, we started working on how we would communicate it together. Here's the outcome:
There are a number of things that have to be taken into consideration when sharing the same preaching space and time. How would we transition? How do we avoid being a distraction while the other pastor is preaching? How do we keep the sermon from feeling like a ping-pong match?
We also had to deal with some technical matters. We presently don't have a microphone for the preacher and we record with a lapel mic and an MP3 recorder. But we couldn't use the mic. Therefore, the recorder had to go on the stand. And what should the notes look like when we both have different preferences? How high does and and what angle will the stand be comfortable for both of us. Who will speak what parts? And how will this be presented as a statement of solidarity in team ministry without being corny or gimmicky? Preaching can be challenging enough without these things. Thankfully, Pastor Brett and I work very well together.
I am thankful that Redeeming Life values team ministry in every area of our church. I'm also thankful for Pastor Brett and the team God has put together in our leadership at Redeeming Life.
For the Kingdom!