Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Second to Last Sermon

Today was a monumental day . . . sort of.  I preached a sermon today in my Advanced Homiletics class, and I realized it's the second to last sermon I will preach in my seminary career.  It feels good.  I also felt good while I was preaching, which is unusual for me.  I got a number of compliments on the sermon and on my delivery.  One guy in the class actually said I was a 'natural.'  He wasn't marveling at my abilities or anything, but it was a much appreciated compliment.  The whole thing seemed odd at first, but I realized that I was comfortable preaching today because I'm not going to be a preacher.  The pressure is off, as they say.

But should that make a difference?  If my nerve problems were a result of a desire to perform, to be better than the other guys who were preaching, then it's certainly a good thing.  The scary idea is that maybe I'm not taking the task seriously.  Whether I'm going to be a pastor or not, the Word of God is still the Word of God.  It's still worth a serious treatment.

My usual posture is to assume the worst about myself.  I would naturally assume I'm not taking the Word seriously enough.  Against all odds, however, I am confident that my lack of nerves came from a lack of pretense.  I didn't want to cast the illusion that I'm going to be the next great preacher (not that anyone thought that).

I'm going to preach once more this semester, and I hope that I can have a similar experience.  But even if I don't, the Holy Spirit is powerful, and He determines the effect of the Word preached.  That, I think, is the key to preaching.


Anonymous said...

you and I live parallel lives. When I went on staff in Athens, I told the wife I was going to change nothing about my behavior at all because if I had to change something, then I wasn't ready in the first place. However, I don't know if I could have held that attitude if I didn't know I was only doing this for a year. Thus, my peace came from knowing I wouldn't be doing this indefinitely.

Rex Queems (the phony)

samuel said...

I posit that most elders (that is, PASTORS) are not professional pastors. At least in Scripture.

So, nothing holds you back from being an undershepherd (under the Senior Pastor, aka Chief Shepherd, Jesus) along with other men and also keep a job as a nutty professor and billionare novelist.

A single, dynamic, CEO-type professional, Senior Pastor/President is a modern abheration, in my view.

Just do it, nike.

Joshua Duncan said...

I agree. I would be happy to be an elder at a church, I just don't want to be the 'head man.'