Preaching Academy: Framing the right questions

November 10, 2016
Story and photos by Charmaine Robledo
Director of Communications, Mountain Sky Area, UMC

"Preaching is not about having the right answers, it's about framing the right questions," said the Rev. Dr. Gary Simpson at the third annual Preaching Academy on Nov. 10 at First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs. The Preaching Academy is an annual training event that aims to "explore and enrich our craft as preachers of the gospel."

Simpson's presentation comes at a post-election time when pastors are being called to heal a divided community both inside and outside their churches.

"We really believe we are valued by our talk and that's all we do," Simpson said. "But good talking comes first from good listening."

This year's event was split into two seminars: Preaching at Your Growing Edge: Who Draws the Lines? and Lost and Found: Hearing the Silent Voices and Crafting Words. Simpson spoke about using voice and privilege "in a way to help those with no power."

"We don't have any work to do if we're not at the margins," he said. "Preaching by definition is at the margin. That is where mission and evangelism happens."

At the morning worship prior to the seminars, Simpson's sermon on "The Risky Business of Resisting Death" warned against sitting idle and letting death surround us. He cited the story of the four leperous men in 2 Kings, Chapter 7 who risked death to explore an enemy camp only to discover that it was deserted and warn their city, saving the people there.

"Pay attention to those people on the margins," Simpson concluded. "They might be the very people who save us all."

The Preaching Academy was live streamed. Click here to view the archived videos from Nov. 10.

The Rev. Dr. Gary Simpson is associate professor of homiletics at Drew Theological Seminary and senior pastor of Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y. His full biography can be found in the Preaching Academy brochure.

The Preaching Academy is part of the Leadership Development program provided by the Rocky Mountain Conference's Mission & Ministry Office. Director of Mission & Ministry Rev. Dr. Youngsook Kang said the feedback from attendees was positive, stating that Simpson was an engaging speaker with a relevant message. She said the Conference will continue to offer the Preaching Academy with the possibility of offering the 2017 event in Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City with live streaming.