When teaching seminary students to preach, it is key that future pastors learn to speak directly to the workplace Christians in their congregations. These assignments teach seminary students how to do just that.
INTERPRETING AND PREACHING THE MEANING OF A TEXT – ECCLESIASTES 2 and 3. IS WORK MEANINGFUL OR FUTILE?
TWO DIFFERENT WAYS OF DEALING WITH THIS TOPIC AS AN ASSIGNED TASK
Both of these assignments assume that the biblical text of these chapters will be read and examined. Also that the TOW Commentary on Ecclesiastes will be read and whatever other commentaries and biblical resources the teacher chooses to make available.
1. CLASS DEBATE – IS WORK MEANINGFUL OR FUTILE?
The whole class is divided into two teams, one pro-meaningful and one pro-futile. The case for each side has to be built solely around their reading and interpretation of Ecclesiastes Chapters 2 and 3. Everyone is to be involved in examining Ecclesiastes 2 and 3 to see how their case might be argued. Each side appoints 2 speakers to argue their case, with speakers from each side taking turns for a maximum of 5 minutes each. Then a third speaker from each side is given the chance to offer reinforcement or rebuttals of what other speakers have said. After the last speaker, class members vote on who offered the most convincing case.
2. WRITE A SERMON ON “IS WORK MEANINGFUL OR FUTILE?”.
This exercise could be done by all class members following the previous “Class Debate” exercise or completely separate from that exercise.
Your text is Ecclesiastes 2. Your sermon is to be only 15 minutes long. You must try to make it helpful for those who love their work, those who struggle with their work, and those who don’t have paid jobs. Before you finish preparing this sermon, talk with at least one representative from each of these categories and ask for their personal answer to the question in the title “Do you think work is meaningful or futile?” Try to incorporate or at least acknowledge their observations into your sermon in an appropriate way. Assume that they are listening to you preach.
Other ideas for preachers can be found in the How to Read the Bible with Workplace Eyes resource.