I’m the definition of a “rookie preacher.” Maybe you are too. I had only preached once, and it was at a predominantly Hispanic church, with a translator! “Is this how you want me to preach my first message, God?” Apparently, it was. I have known for a while now that God has called me to preach; it was just a matter of how He was going to make it happen.
Several weeks ago one of my pastors sent me a text message asking if I wanted to preach the following week at my home church. With no hesitation, I sent him back an emphatic YES! This is what God designed me for. I can feel that with every fiber of my being, therefore I must be ready to faithfully preach whenever called upon. However, the flesh still persists..and the emotions, fears, and anxieties that come with it do as well.
2 Things I Learned Before my Second Time Preaching
I’m not sure if it gets better or the nerves remain as we gain experience in this arena, but all I knew was that these emotions were real and they were like a roller coaster all week, up and down. Not as bad as my first sermon, but they were definitely still there!
As I drove home that Wednesday after work to pick up my wife and daughter to go to church, God had but 2 things on my heart, in preparation for that preaching moment. These 2 things I will take with me every time I am called to preach.
1. If I’m fearful and anxious, I’m being selfish.
I know, that might not appear to translate into being selfish, but let me explain. God had given me a message – that He wanted to speak through my mouth – to His people, and if I allowed fear to invade and not allow myself to clearly communicate the message, I would be acting selfishly. I would not be thoroughly allowing that message to reach the hearts, souls, and minds of God’s children. I would be a selfish shepherd.
2. God told me to love the people I am speaking to.
In doing this, how could it go wrong? If we remember how much God loves us, we can convey that love to the people in the pews. There are hurting people in the church, and we must impart God’s love to them through the preaching of the Word. The pulpit must be entered with a heart of humility, and like Paul, with much fear and trembling. The love spoken of here is a deep, agape love, in putting the needs of the people over my own. God loves these people, enough to send His Son to die on a cross for them, and has entrusted me to minister to them. Am I loving them, and praying for them, before, and during the sermon? Am I being a loving leader by leading them to the one who is Love?
In the Pulpit
These are 2 things that I will take to the pulpit in every preaching occasion. I’m sure the list will increase as I continue in ministry, but for now, that will be enough to temper my flesh and allow the Spirit to lead as I anticipate giving the Word. We must remind ourselves it’s not about us, and it’s not us doing the work; He wants to do it through us. Keeping that in the forefront takes a lot of pressure off, and can reduce anxiety and stress.
By the way, if you’re curious as to what the message was on, it was on the peace of God and not being anxious. Go figure. God is quite creative, don’t you think?!
What are some key points you take with you whenever you go to the pulpit? This rookie would love to know.
Jason Binder lives in south Florida with his wife Tatiana and their daughter Gabriella. They are navigating a difficult season with the passing of their son Alex just over a year ago. Jason is part of the leadership at Reveal Fellowship and is currently attending seminary at Liberty University. He is pursuing his pastoral calling, and when he’s not spending valued time with his family, loves playing sports, exercising, and writing.
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