Preaching can be marginalised as a monologue. In pastoral ministry the sermon is part of an ongoing dialogue – the pastor hears the congregation throughout the week (and over time) and hears God’s Word; speaking in response as an ongoing dialogue.
The challenge of the authority which attaches itself to pastoral office is not to listen and respond but to treat the hearers and the Word as tools to shape the pastor’s vision instead of remaining supple in seeing our vision shaped by the ongoing conversation.

From Will Willimon:

…listening is difficult when you are in a position of authority. By the time you have your ordination credentials in hand and have some church experience behind you, you have probably been trained more to talk than to listen. Congregations crave pastors who give them answers to their problems rather than do the adaptive work of asking questions and encouraging them to help with the answers. Fortunately, the one who leads is also the one who preaches. All good sermons begin with something that has been heard. Biblical exegesis is a series of respectful questions that we ask of a text in the faith that God will give us something to say if we ask prayerfully. Great leaders are questioners and listeners; so are good preachers.

William H Willimon, Leading With The Sermon, Fortress Press, 2020, pgs 134-135.

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