Did I tell you, “I get to preach this Sunday.” Yeah! That was the title of one of my first blogs as theunexpectedds. Where once I was lamenting that DS’s didn’t preach every Sunday, I’m now faced with the prospect of preaching every Sunday…which is okay with me because I love preaching.
I’ve also thought I might use the blog as a means of fleshing out some of the things I was preparing to preach, but then I thought, well, if too many people read my blog and show up a couple of Sundays and hear some of what they’ve already read, then they might not show up for many Sundays. Hey, if I can read it during the week, why bother to get up and go to worship? Right?
Then, I thought, but worship is not all about my sermon, right? People come to worship for lots of reasons. For a preacher, on a good day, some of the reasons might have to do with the sermon. See, even we preachers get self-centered in our thinking, too! Worship is, and always will be, about God. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. If the message I preach can, in any way, enhance our experience of the Almighty, then I will believe I’ve been obedient to the Spirit. If otherwise, I’ve failed in my leadership of the congregation.
I’ve got to tell you, though, some of the times I’ve felt closest to God are times when I’ve been preaching. I don’t know how to explain it, and I suppose it can’t be explained. I just know that I get this awesome sense of His presence, His nearness, His love when I stand to preach. Preaching is, for me, exhilarating. It is emotionally and physically draining, but it is exhilarating. There have been times when, like the Pentecostals, I’ve wanted to shout, “Glory!” Not because of anything I’ve said (as though anything I could ever say would elicit such a response), but because I’ve been so overwhelmed by His presence in a moment during a sermon. I’m not sure whether any other preachers have felt that way. I’ve never actually heard anyone talk about it. Maybe we’re not supposed to talk about it.
There’s also the whole routine of preparing to preach that excites me. Well, most of the time anyway. There are times preparing becomes a chore, but that’s usually when it’s rushed because I’ve put it off until the last minute. But there are other times, when I’ve been rushed, waited until the last minute, and the Holy Spirit has done an amazing work, and the words flow, and the sermon just evolves. Still, I remain convinced the Holy Spirit does His best work through our preparation, which is fine with me because the preparation is sort of a spiritual discipline for me, and I usually love it.
I suppose the fact that I love to preach so much is yet another reason I’m not the perfect pastor. I find myself putting too much time in preparation for preaching and not necessarily enough time in doing some of the other things a pastor needs to be doing. Like administration. I know how to do it. I just don’t like to do it. It takes ten times more energy to do an hour’s worth of administration than it does to do ten hours of sermon preparation. I never have figured that one out. Not to worry. We’ll get the administration done. I’m certain there are lots of people at 1st UMC who LOVE administration. I’ll just have to find out who those folks are and let them live into their giftedness.
So, I’m not so sure I want to use this blog as a means of fleshing out sermons. There will be times people may hear something they’ve read in my blog, but that’ll be just because it was on my mind at the time. Perhaps the week following the sermon some of the stuff will show up in the blog. Yeah! Maybe that’s the way to do it. Don’t give it all away ahead of time. Save it for after. That’ll be a good way for those who missed worship to connect. Then again, they can hear it on internet, so, maybe not.
I know what I can do, though. I can use this space as a sermon tease. Give a little tidbit, a little illustration, a little foretaste of what one can expect on Sunday. Yeah! Maybe that’s what I should do. That might be just the thing. A little snippet like, “What does Pandora.com have to do with the 4th of July?” Maybe that would generate a little interest and get people to come to church. It might not, but we’ll never know until we try.
Of course, the great fallacy in all my thinking is that I’ve made it all about the sermon. I know it’s because I love to preach so much, but I have to keep reminding myself, it’s not about me. It’s not about the sermon. It’s all about Jesus.
See, I told you I wasn’t the perfect pastor. But, that won’t keep me from trying.
Until next time, keep looking up…