I had a treat a couple of weeks ago that I really enjoyed. A Bible College friend was going to be on holidays and asked me to speak at his church. Their summer series was “Give It Up” based on the Sermon On The Mount and he asked me to speak on the passage dealing with worry. Being a Pastor and working every weekend 🙂 I was looking forward to being at his church, taking in a new atmosphere, enjoying worshiping together and sharing the Word. My experience of Guest Speaking is not large, I’m not turning away offers each week and having to say no to all the camps that ask but I would like to share thoughts I did have.
Share About Yourself
A new audience is, well, “new” and you only have a few minutes to build some kind of bond with them, so share about yourself. If your trip to get there, whether you flew or drove 20 minutes, was wrought with problems tell the story. If the summer has been dry and your grass looks like straw, work that in. I know some people say “Get straight to the Word” but establishing common ground is very important. In your first few moments, you either build a bridge or begin to build a wall. I know which one I aim for every time.
Share About The Lead Pastor
Lift up the Lead Pastor, tell the people which gift he or she has that you appreciate. Share a story of how they have impacted your life and ask the people to be in constant prayer for all the staff at the church.
Church Your Ego At The Door
It’s interesting how your sermon prep goes up a notch when you know you will be speaking to new people. Sometimes while preparing I’ve come to a horrible realization. The way I was framing things was really to impress the people and not to move the message forward.
Test The Waters of Humour
When you speak to the same group each week they get to know you, the way you think, what makes you tick, and your likes and dislikes. For instance, our people know how much I hate the cold, it’s a running joke. So they know you and you know what will make them laugh. Don’t make the mistake of transferring this to your guest appearance. Stick your toe in the shallow end and test the waters of humour. Over the years I have said things that would have them rolling in the aisles at my church and all I got was crickets when I was a guest. 🙂 Thankfully I quickly moved on but there is nothing worse than setting something up and having it fall flat.
Say “thank you” often, say it to the first person that greets you, say it to the sound person and video person, thank the person that led in worship and the whole band if you have the opportunity. Thank the pastor for the opportunity to speak and thank the people for listening. You get the point.
There’s Usually One In The Crowd
At the end of the service, you will have the people who will come and give the obligatory “nice message today, Pastor”. There will be those who get more specific and tell you how the Word impacted them. It didn’t happen this last time but every once in awhile there is that one in the crowd who will say, “That’s exactly the kind of preaching we need in this church!!” Don’t let your head swell, 9 out of 10 times that person is a trouble maker and causes the Pastor grief. At least now you have a face to put with your prayer requests for the church. 🙂
When a pastor asks you to share their pulpit whether you are preaching a new message or thankful you can preach an old one again take the opportunity seriously. It’s not about you, it’s about the Word, leave a good deposit and point them heavenward.
What About You?
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