Tag Team Preaching
Yesterday, my husband and I had the opportunity to tag team preach. It was nice to be with Calvary Pentecostal Church in Collinsville, Illinois. It is always interesting when we get to preach together. We decided to preach from Acts 9, and speak about Saul’s conversion experience. We wanted the congregation to be able to see the active, incredible, caring, and loving God we serve.
My husband started out the sermon. We decided to use a narrative methodology in the sermon. His portion of the sermon would give the setting, develop the characters, discuss the problem, and go into the plot. He talked about Saul, and really gave a good background to set the scene. He then started to talk about “blindness,” which was our prevailing metaphor throughout the sermon.
My portion of the sermon was to pick up in the plot, preach the application to the text (climax of the story), and give the resolution. I changed the method a little, and gave a somewhat linear progression in thought. I’m kind of a linear preacher. I give points, and make an argument in the sermon. When I got up to preach, I decided not to stand in the pulpit. The pulpit was high and raised from the people, and I wanted to stand down in the altar area and preach. Luckily as a female, there aren’t a lot of expectations of how I will preach, and so I sometimes have more liberty to be myself. Part of my call to pastoral ministry is a calling to be with the people, and this came out in my actions as I stood in the altar area and preacher. I felt like this helped me connect with the people. I didn’t have a stand however, so it presented an interesting dynamic with my notes. I am learning how to preach without notes, but this takes a lot of practice. I started my sermon with an illustration. I had a woman from the congregation come up, and remain blindfolded throughout the sermon. She sat on the altar. I asked people to think about what it would be like to be blind. I touched on the feelings and emotions of the story, and tried to help connect people to the Biblical text through their feelings and emotions. I related the story of Saul to our lives, and to the issue of spiritual blindness. As I reflect on the sermon, I wish I would have used the illustration a little more and weaved it into the sermon text better. Using illustrations is hard work, especially when they are real people. This is an area I need to work on in my spiritual discipline of preaching.
Overall, I felt like we were faithful to the Biblical text, and I hope the message was challenging and encouraging for the believers. Our aim was to point people to Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of transformation. As a preacher, and especially a Pentecostal preacher, I find myself drawn to the response of the sermon. It is hard for me when the response is different than what I anticipate. It would have been good for us to ask the pastor what type of response the congregation usually has, to know whether or not they usually come forward in an altar call. Preaching at a church for the first time without ever having been or attended can be tricky, because you are not aware of the local custom and culture of the church.
Tag team preaching can be difficult. It is difficult, because you are dividing the elements of the sermon between two people. If you open, you might want to close the sermon, but you cannot. You have to allow the tag team preacher to close the sermon. It can also be difficult, because the two preachers may have different preaching styles. My husband is more narrative, while I tend to be more expositional and linear in thought progression and presentation. I think both styles are effective, but sometimes it is hard to mesh them together.
There are several rewards and advantages for tag team preaching. I think tag team preaching can be a wonderful opportunity for the congregation to hear two different styles of preaching. It also allows the congregation to hear different perspectives. Having a male and a female voice is important for the congregation. Some people might relate better to one of the preachers than the other, and while the intention is not to draw people to oneself (but rather to Jesus), sometimes the relational power can help aid in connecting people to the gospel.
Overall, we were really blessed to be invited to speak to Calvary by Pastor and Sister Russell. We were encouraged to be with people of like faith, and to hear about the good work God is doing in Collinsville. It is great to know God is at work all around the world. It’s an honor to be a part of that work.
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