My husband has a knack for preaching. Often people will ask "How does he get his sermons?" sometimes however it is pretty obvious.
Priests are a lot like writers. Writers often use those around them in their stories, I know this because a writer told me so when I was complaining about being used in one of my husbands sermons.
Today my husband gave an excellent and very informative sermon. As I sat in the congregation, listening to him preach, thinking "that's my husband", I was overwhelmed and very proud of the leader that he has become. What was even better was the fact that neither the kid nor myself were used in the sermon. The downside was that we will probably never be invited to another parishioner's home for dinner. Yep, that's right, he used a parishioner who had invited us to dinner in his sermon. Well actually he used a question that was asked by their college-aged kid which developed into a pretty good discussion at the table but either way, I see no dinner dates in our foreseeable future.
I might add that we have had dinner at the homes of 4-5 other parishioners and none of them have made it into a sermon (yet). Todd has given 4 sermons at this new parish and has already used parishioners in 2--Christmas Eve he used a question that was asked about insects in the hay of the manger and now today.
Someone today after church, asked me how I liked being a part of a larger church...looking at the numbers and knowing that as I pointed out in the beginning that writers use what is around them, I would say I like it quite well. Being a member of a larger church means that my husband has at least 100 other people to put into a sermon. Whether or not the interaction comes from a Men's Breakfast, a bible study group, a large altar guild, a choir, youth group, etc... or from a dinner party either way at least there are more people being used for sermon fodder.
Meanwhile at coffee hour I heard someone asked my hubby about confidentiality and dinner conversations....well it was good while it lasted and a good thing I like to cook.