BIO: Dave Holdren has been a pastor and General Superintendent during his 40 years in ministry. He has been serving as Senior Pastor of Dayspring Wesleyan Church in Marion, OH for nearly two years. The church consists of a variety of social classes in this mid-sized Midwestern town. Dave’s advice to preachers is “Be encouraged because God does not just call the gifted he gifts the called.”
Lenny: We don’t hear too many sermons about dreams, especially in the Wesleyan Church. How did the need for this sermon surface in your soul?
Dave: Dreams were a vital part of God’s communication with Bible characters, especially surrounding the birth and survival of the Baby Jesus. So, what’s up with dreams, I wondered.
Lenny: Near the beginning of your sermon, you had people get in groups to discuss their dreams. That’s a high risk activity in some church circles. What do you think is the benefit of getting people to dialogue in groups during the preaching event?
Dave: I would not do it regularly, but it helps to focus and engage the congregation. After that point, they’re locked in!
Lenny: You have been preaching for several decades and God has blessed your preaching ministry with significant fruit. How has your preaching stayed the same and how has your preaching changed in terms of both theological convictions and practice?
Dave: That’s big stuff, Lenny! I have chosen to preach and teach in ways that reveal the attractiveness and desirable nature of Christ and the Gospel (Titus 2:10). I have shifted toward discipleship (sanctification) while always prodding them to “cross the Bridge” (salvation) . I focus more on the “here and now” without forgetting the hereafter.
Lenny: Most pastors and preachers begin ministry with a dream to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities. Somewhere along the pastoral road we lose sight of or give up hope in the ministry dreams God gives us. What destroys the dreams of pastors and how can pastors reclaim the God-sized, God-given dreams they once had when they started in ministry?
Dave: Always remember the unique amazement of Jesus and the irreplaceable nature of His Church. Every minister is doing rare and precious work. Is there really a better job?
Lenny: Here’s a real practical question: Other than the Bible and prayer what resource is most helpful in your development and/or delivery of sermons?
Dave: Besides the ones you mention, here are three others:
1. My own life experience and honesty / transparency about it.
2. The newer waves of scholarship and thinking that help us see more of The Bible, not less
3. Remaining aware of the needs and challenges of my people.