Preparing for Sunday Sermons

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Whether Bob Aukeman, 57, is on the road driving his semi or at home in West Michigan, he anticipates the next sermon he’ll hear at Bauer Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville.

Bob Aukeman takes Sunday sermon preparation material on the road with him.

Every weekday, he reads a Scripture passage and ponders a question as part of a devotional program geared to preparing church members for the Sunday sermon preached by Timothy Holwerda, the church’s pastor.

Each week, Holwerda gives the Scripture and sermon topic to Aukeman, who formulates the devotionals, called “15 Minutes with Father.”

Holwerda said it helps him connect with the congregation. “It’s helped me think more about how our congregation would think about this passage in their weekly lives, seeing it more from where they may be sitting as they do their devotions,” he said.

Devotional reader Joyce Tamminga, 55, said, “The questions keep you on track.” Her husband, Gary Tamminga, 57, who also uses the reading guides, agreed. “It gives you a focus for the week, and you start to dwell on preparing for the sermon.”

The devotions for each week are available at the church or on the church website. Although no method of measuring the number of people who use the program is in place, Holwerda said people have told him it helps their spiritual growth. “They say it has helped them to feel that the sermon means more since they’ve lived with that Scripture and theme for the entire week.”

The six-member committee that launched “15 Minutes with Father” about two years ago kept in mind their pastor’s other duties. “We were conscious of not adding to his work,” said Aukeman.

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I love this idea! Has Bob Aukeman written these devotionals every week for 2 years? That's dedication. I'd like to learn more about how they're written, what sources are used, and so on.