Geez Sermon Contest

If you are a scholar or language geek like me, you probably think this post is about writing a homily in Ethiopic. But it isn’t. Geez magazine is looking for people – not necessarily Christians! – who can produce sermons that get away from the tired and painful familiar cliches. You could win up to $500, and I know some readers of this blog might be up for trying! Click through for more details (and see the video below).

Since there is a fee for submissions, you might not be interested in entering. But I still thought it was worth mentioning the contest here, if only to raise the subject of sermons. I’ve been moving in the direction of the flipped classroom, and there have been a few discussions about the possibility of a flipped church – having the sermon printed or recorded and available beforehand, and then using time in church for discussion and other things. What do you think? Whether you are thinking of a Christian church, an atheist fellowship, or some other group, could the “flipped classroom” approach make a positive impact?

Here’s the video promoting the Geez contest.

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  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Flipped sermons! I would be up for that!

  • DavidR

    I took a look at it. It sounds interesting, but their maximum limit is 750 words. That’s not a sermon, it’s a sound byte! Well, it’s actually probably about 5 minutes. But considering that one of their criteria for judging the contest is “depth of insight,” I think they’re sending a mixed message here.

    • disciplefirstthenpreacher

      How long do you think it took to deliver The Gettysburg Address? I believe you can get deep in 5 minutes. Far too much preaching today is fluff. We take 5 minutes on the intro because we think we have some awesome illustration or joke we have to tell.

      • DavidR

        Good point about the Gettysburg Address. As to preaching, if you only have one point to make, and no scripture to interpret, I suppose you can manage some depth in 5 minutes.

        I’m sure you’re right about fluff too. However, I’m fortunate enough to hear good preachers who can preach 20 minutes without it. I generally have to cut mine to keep them to 20 minutes, mainly because I spend too much time on exegesis (honest).

        I do have to wonder whether the 5-minute sermon isn’t a byproduct of the short attention spans created by surfing the Web, checking Facebook, and tweeting. These media are made to avoid depth. Here’s an interesting post on that topic: http://weavings.upperroom.org/2013/03/fasting-from-the-internet/

      • Nick Gotts

        This reminds me of the wonderful P.G. Wodehouse story The Great Sermon Handicap. One of his best.

  • arcseconds

    That’s a clever-bordering-on-the-exploitative ploy by the magazine!

    Content that people pay you for accepting, plus additional subscribers.

  • Mark Farmer

    Disappointed that it’s not about the ancient Ethiopian tongue, read by priests who often don’t understand what they are saying, I am told.


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