November 15th has meant for many people, many different beginnings and preparations.
For many Americans, it is the preparation time for Thanksgiving Day – a glorious American Tradition.
For many Orthodox, it marks the entrance to the Nativity Fast (or Advent fast), the 40 days leading up to the feast of Christmas.
And here at Preachers Institute, it has been the starting point for the annual 30 (40) Days of Blogging exercise we host every year.
We’re cancelling it this year, in an attempt to refocus our work to actually benefit those who must preach the Gospel.
The truth is that there is almost no serious homiletics preparation offered at most Orthodox seminaries, and Orthodox clergy are left pretty much to themselves to become better preachers on their own, when they have time in their busy pastoral lives. Preachers Institute was created to fill some of that gap and offer some help, and some excellent examples of how to do it from some of the best preachers in the history of mankind. They preaching the Gospel. They preached on Biblical principles to life, love, righteousness, charity, money, death, and citizenship. The did not moralize. They did not sermonize. They gave it everything they had, and it cost them – sometimes it cost them their lives.
The ugly side of this is – everyone says that preaching is important, that they want better preaching, but no one wants to do anything about it. I salute the very few effectual homiletics teachers we have from Alaska to New York. Your work matters more than any other work at seminary. It is the most formative and second to none in spiritual formation and the use of Sacred Scripture in practical application. Sadly, no one but you knows it.
We are trying to do something about it. The 30 (40) Days of Blogging was an attempt to assist clergy to get the word out there, and show them just how easy it was to prepare and post sermons, class notes and teachings online where they could be read, discussed and mulled over during the week. This is still our hope.
But this exercise is just that – an exercise.
I’ll be reviewing the mission and vision of the Preachers Institute, and what progress, if any, we’ve made by offering this website. It is my sincerest hope that Preachers Institute has, thus far, been at least a little useful for you in your preaching.
As always, please include us in your prayers.