The Roundtable Pulpit: Where Leadership and Preaching Meet

by John S. McClure. Abingdon Press, 1995.

John McClure challenges those who preach 'to' congregations by proposing that they preach 'with' congregations instead. His goal is preaching that encompasses "collaborative conversation on biblical texts, theology, and life." And he proposes collaborative 'brainstorming' as both a powerful form of congregational leadership and "a repaired form of Christian community."

McClure begins by analyzing other approaches to preaching. He then introduces us to the 'roundtable pulpit'—composed of a rotating dialogue group which meets with the pastor to brainstorm the preaching text. This communal approach discerns and speaks the truth of the Gospel in order to "'engage in' and 'influence' the ways that a congregation talks itself into becoming a Christian community."

After providing a clear and thought-provoking case study of this approach, the author also provides a reality check, pointing out the difficulties of implementing the changes he proposes. However, he never wavers from the basic belief that over time, collaborative preaching empowers members "to become interpreters of biblical faith and partners in the mission of the church."

This is an effective, usable book for all preachers who seeking to form communities of those committed to becoming "do-ers" of the Word.