So I got to the climax of my sermon. It was my second sermon, I was 16 years of age, and I was about to bring the house down! I got my breath and paused creating anticipation. The hours I spent in preparation for this sermon and all I had said that night had led up to this point. I was about to give the one statement that my whole sermon had been built upon! I knew the night and my life would never be the same when they heard the wisdom and wittiness of my next statement. I shouted, “‘Eutychus’ too if you fell from a second story window!”. The place bursted out into nervous laughter!
I had landed my joke. What do I do from here? This was really the only part of the whole sermon I was excited about talking about. I can’t go into an invitation while they are laughing. I couldn’t summarize my sermon because I didn’t really say anything. I had it as my goal but realized my goal was lacking in depth. None of my points had come from the text of Acts 20 but from some observations I had made from seating in a window while studying. Brilliant stuff like we block the sun from shining in, we may fall out, it is very uncomfortable, etc.
I wish I could say this was the only time I have been to the pulpit ill prepared. I had a strong desire to preach good sermons but did not know how to work in study but only in preparation. I had seen people sweat while they preached and thought I could imitate that. I had not, however, seen people sweat in their study so I did not know this was an option. Disclaimer: This is no disrespect to those influenced me at this time. I just didn’t pay attention to the right things.
It would be less embarrassing to me if I was able to tell you that I I quickly outgrew this. As a 29 year old young preacher I am still in great need of conference like the Bible Expo. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to preach thousands of times by now and in places in America and around the world I would never have imagined I would ever have an opportunity to. The 29 year old me is in more need of training then the 16 year old version of myself because my opportunity to improperly handle the Word of God has increased.
Here are a few things that young preachers like myself struggle with when it comes to preaching. I hope it will help my Pioneer Sender young preachers friends out there think through some of the difficulties we face.
- We wear many hats and the “sermon prep” is too often not in front of us. We have to go to the closet to find it.
- We often preach to young crowds (kids, teenagers, and college students). It is often allows us to say erroneous things without anyone there to call us out.
- We often see that the most “in demand” preachers are not Scripturally ground but sensational. We imitate them.
- We often lack the discipline needed to organize a sequential, expositional series. This allows us to skip passages that are more difficult and allow us to relay upon topics we are most comfortable with.
- We are reactionary! We look around for problems, google for some verses, and shoot.
- Our small amount of experience has made us unteachable. We do not outline messages as we hear them, we do not seek to learn from those older than us, and we are stuck.
- When we preach we often get “young person” handicap points. People tell us it is great but they leave out – “it is great considering your lack of experience and we do not have to hear you three times a week”.
This Thursday we start our annual Bible Expo. If you had not heard about it before now (and I sincerely hope you have we have worked so you would know about it) you can still register. It is free of charge and only requires one night of hotel stay. If you are a young preacher or teacher (you can decide what young is) and want to come but could use some help let me know. I would love to help you out by providing lodging for you.
As Pioneer Senders we should always be growing in our ability to clearly teach the Word of God. This event is designed to help. Learn more and sign up here! I shared a embarrassing story. It is now your turn. Please do so in the comments below.