Interview with Matt Waymeyer: Part Two

See Part One here.

PSL: What are you preaching right now and how is it shaping your understanding of the preaching task?

MW: On Sunday mornings I am currently preaching through 1 Peter. (At our Sunday evening service I usually teach in more of a classroom format, with a syllabus, PowerPoint, white board, and interaction.) It’s hard to say exactly how preaching 1 Peter in particular is shaping my understanding of the preaching task. I’ve been here at CBC for two years now, and I am growing very comfortable with the people and feeling very at home in the pulpit. This seems to be allowing me to be more effective during the extemporaneous parts of my messages. I manuscript much of what I say in my sermons, but I also give myself ample opportunity to abandon my notes and spontaneously explain a portion of the text or exhort the people to a certain response. I am seeing the value and effectiveness of these moments in the delivery of the sermon.

PSL: What are three encouraging signs or movements you see in the church today? Three not so encouraging?

MW: Encouraging: (1) the remnant of believers today (like the people at our church) who will not settle for anything less than expository preaching; (2) the growing reformation that seems to be taking place within parts of the Southern Baptist Convention; and (3) the courage and discernment of believers who refuse to put up with the seeker-friendly shenanigans that have captivated so many.

Not So Encouraging: (1) the kind of superficial Christianity which is reflected in the popularity of religious books which have little or no biblical substance; (2) the way so much of the church seems to have lost its sense of the majesty of God; and (3) the way so many who profess the name of Christ evidence so little submission to the authority of Scripture in what they believe and how they live.

PSL: Where are you being stretched and challenged the most in ministry?

MW: I read somewhere recently that pastors must learn to co-exist peacefully with a substantial amount of chaos in their lives and ministry. I am finding this to be very true and very challenging. My personal preference is to see lots of closure and lots of check marks on my to-do list, but so much of ministry simply doesn’t work that way. A pastor needs to learn to live with lots of loose ends.

Part of it is simply being stretched to be able to do a multitude of things well at the same time, and another part is being able to shift gears from one thing to another. I remember one time I was driving to someone’s house, thinking about all these different issues in the church, and probably stressing out about them. I’ve got to do this and that, and how am I going to handle such-and-such a situation? That sort of thing. Then, when I was about two blocks and 60 seconds from my destination, my thoughts returned to where I was going and why: The father of one of our church member’s had just dropped dead unexpectedly and I was on my way to comfort the family and pray with them. I feel so inadequate at those moments.

PSL: What are you reading right now?

MW: I am currently reading Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell (on my list ever since I had the opportunity to meet Chapell and hear him teach on preaching three years ago); The Doctrine of Infant Baptism by Pierre Marcel (the best argument I’ve ever read for paedobaptism, but I remain entirely unconvinced); Getting Things Done by David Allen (so Paul Lamey will continue to think of me as the cutting-edge guy that I am); and Sinners in the Hands of a Good God by David Clotfelter (an excellent read on a difficult subject). I also just read a journal article by Thomas Schreiner: “Does Romans 9 Teach Individual Election unto Salvation?” (JETS 36, 1 [March 1993]: 25-40). For “fun” reading, last week on family vacation I read Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson and Greatness: Reagan, Churchill and the Making of Extraordinary Readers by Steven Hayward. I love history, and I’m an incurable Ronald Reagan fan.

PSL: Are your kids still beating you at Blokus?

MW: I don’t know which of my little rugrats told you they have ever beaten me at Blokus, but that is pure fantasy—my unbeaten streak lives on! Our family loves playing games (chess is the latest and greatest), and Blokus is a great one to play with kids of various ages. Even our three-year-old loves it. I suppose that once my kids unite and focus on taking me down together, I will never again win a game of Blokus. But so far this kind of conspiracy has not occurred to them, and I continue to dominate.

PSL: Can you tell us what writing projects you’re working on at the moment? How does writing help your preaching?

MW: In their book The Craft of Research, Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams have an excellent section on why writing is so important. One of the reasons, they say, “is that once we get our thoughts out of our heads and onto paper, we see them in a clearer light, one that is always brighter and usually less flattering. Most of us…think our ideas are more coherent while in the warmth of our minds than they turn out to be in cold print” (p. 9). I have found this to be so true, and it motivates me to stay consistent in my writing, especially on subjects I am currently studying and working through in my own mind. It is not uncommon for me to start writing a position paper about an issue that I haven’t landed on yet. The process itself is valuable to me in how it clarifies the gaps in my thinking and the questions I need to answer.

Several years ago, Dr. Trevor Craigen (theology professor at The Master’s Seminary) told me that many preachers focus too much time and attention on lengthy illustrations and not enough on simply choosing their words carefully and in a way that articulates a concept in a clear and striking manner. I have found that writing helps me grow in this area. It also helps in the process of being clear in the pulpit, which is imperative. I actually edit my sermon notes much in the same way that I would edit an article I am writing (although I do so recognizing the difference between written and oral communication). So in this way, the practice of writing and editing equips me for sermon preparation.

As far as current projects, I have been doing some writing on various aspects of preaching and church leadership. Nothing too earth shattering, but incredibly helpful for me personally. Four years ago I wrote an article entitled “Am I a Dispensationalist?,” and even though I am basically satisfied with it, I am in the process of expanding it to address the relationship between the church and the New Covenant. But more importantly, my people have been meeting with Paul Lamey’s people about the possibility of me contributing some articles to Expository Thoughts. According to my agent, that’s when my career will really take off.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Just found your blog!

    Every blessing
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  2. Posted by Chris Pixley on November 10, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    But more importantly, my people have been meeting with Paul Lamey’s people about the possibility of me contributing some articles to Expository Thoughts. According to my agent, that’s when my career will really take off.

    A week ago I would have just laughed, but what with Paul Lamey now being dubbed by Challies as ‘King of the Week’ you might just be on to something.

  3. […] Interview with Matt Waymeyer: Part Two « Expository Thoughts […]

  4. Someone emailed me to say “congrats” about the whole Challies deal.

    I responded like this, “Challies made us his KINGS for a week. Well seeing Paul Lamey does 90% of the work we only share 10% of the credit/honor between 4 guys.” That should keep us humble. :)

  5. Posted by Mike Jarvis on November 10, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Great Interview, Matt & Paul!

    Mike

  6. I manuscript much of what I say in my sermons, but I also give myself ample opportunity to abandon my notes and spontaneously explain a portion of the text or exhort the people to a certain response. I am seeing the value and effectiveness of these moments in the delivery of the sermon.

    Ditto.

    Part of it is simply being stretched to be able to do a multitude of things well at the same time, and another part is being able to shift gears from one thing to another.

    Right on.

    it motivates me to stay consistent in my writing, especially on subjects I am currently studying and working through in my own mind. It is not uncommon for me to start writing a position paper about an issue that I haven’t landed on yet. The process itself is valuable to me in how it clarifies the gaps in my thinking and the questions I need to answer.

    I appreciate these answers Matt, they are a confirmation to me, or else we both have terrible habits…

  7. […] Another such series was written by Pastor Matt Waymeyer. Matt is another friend and fellow graduate of The Master’s Seminary. We used to work on the custodial staff together at Grace Community Church. He is a humble, faithful expositor of the Word. […]

  8. Posted by Werner on September 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Can you please repair the link to “Am I a Dispensationalist?” It gives me a Page not found error at the TMS website.

  9. Werner: That article is no longer on the TMS website, but it can be found here: http://www.cbconc.org/sermons/pdf/Am%20I%20a%20Dispie.pdf

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