That love hate thing

There are some things in life that I both love and hate.

Preaching is one of them.

I love the intense rigor of preparing, of researching, of learning and of listening to God for what he wants me to say, but I hate that it rarely comes together as easily as I would like. I hate that during the week the passage of scripture or the topic consumes my thoughts and yet I love the end result of the process – the sense of having deeply engaged in scripture in a way that I normally wouldn’t unless I were preaching.

There are few things in life where I am perfectionistic, but preaching is possibly my achilles heel. A few years back I made a commitment never to spend longer than 8 hours on preparation ever again. I have pretty much maintained that but this week was one of the frustrating weeks where I couldn’t seem to pull my thoughts together coherently.

In the end it was all ok, but its a horrible feeling when you can’t seem to hear what God may be saying and when your own thoughts are lame and uninspiring.

I have come to realise that one of my core beliefs about preaching is that if we are going to do it, then it ought to be inspiring – not just informative – that seems to be one of the distinctions between the value of a larger gathering v a smaller one. But to be inspiring you need to be ‘inspired’.

And sometimes you just aren’t!

8 thoughts on “That love hate thing

  1. ….and inspiration sometimes means throwing the prepared message out the window on your way to worship and using the message God gives you at the moment….those are the ones I love to share!

  2. That good Hamo.

    I gave up ages ago on being a good teacher. Inspiration is much more important if you have a regular sunday gig, stories.

    Its a different dynamic when you are preaching every week, as you know.

    I listen to podcasts, keep my eyes on news and be creative in presentation. Every six months or so I try to completely change my style.

  3. As someone who is just a young fella in the world of preaching (I can still count on my 2 hands the number of times I have preached) I can still resonate with what you are saying. So far when I have put a ‘sermon’ together it has taken me AGES. Now I understand this comes with experience, and I’m cool with that:) When I can get to the stage where 8 hrs is enough I will be very happy!

    The hardest thing I am finding, and this is a moment of honesty here, is fighting the ‘pride’ in my own work. So far every sermon has gone down ridiculously well (including the one that wasn’t supposed to…but thats another story!) and I am getting a lot of pats on the back. Its a constant battle to remind myself if it is good, its not me, its God…but that is taking some time to get also!

    But I have to say, I do also enjoy preaching and the lead up to it, I have definately got a better understanding on the passages I have preached on that a lot of other passages.

  4. Inspiration doesn’t come without perspiration

    Without work on the Word

    you Risk the talk being your thoughts not God’s thoughts that you are sharing. Your hobby horses not God’s hobby horses.

    The Holy Spirit can only do so much if you haven’t given him much to work with on any particular talk occasion.

    Unction as the old dudes call it comes with humble dilligent prayerful preparation.

    I think you are kidding yourself if you think you have a good word to speak without meditiating deeply on The Word in the lead up.

    All Preachers have rescue stories where God spoke powerfully through you inspite of you or a dodgey preparation, I think these are the exceptions not the norm.

    Dud preparation generally leads to a dud talk

    I’ve got to get back to my Talk prep

    “Thou shall not commit adultery…”


  5. Actually I very much agree with Gav re the need to be immersed in scripture if we are to be able to say something other than our hobby horses

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