Sunday, November 01, 2009

On making your preaching debut in your home church

So I've just read this a few minutes ago... (HT: JT)

Your first few sermons are always terrible, no matter who you are.

If you think your first few sermons are great, you’re probably self-deceived. If the folks in your home church think your first few sermons are great, it’s probably because they love you and they’re proud of you. If it’s a good, supportive church there’s as much objectivity there as a grandparent evaluating the “I Love You Grandma” artwork handed to them by the five year-old in their family...

So what?

The great thing about Christian ministry is that Jesus doesn’t start all over again with his church every generation. He gives older men in ministry who shape, disciple, and direct younger men in ministry. This includes (although it’s not limited to) critiquing your sermons...

...Your bad sermon says nothing about your future. If you’ve got folks in your life saying, “Hey, that was a really bad sermon,” that does indicate something about your future, so praise God for it. It’s probaby a sign that God has something for you to say, for the rest of your life.

:D Absolutely right. Well, no one told me it was bad this morning. Although I'm very glad no one said outright: "That was a good talk." That's one of the worse things to hear, because you're never quite sure what the definition of "good" is. Are you just being polite? Did you like the sound of my voice? (Doubtful). I remember the first evangelistic talk I gave and a non-Christian came up afterwards to thank me for a "good" talk. I winced internally, because to me it was clear the challenge of Jesus' claims had completely passed him by. It's more gratifying when someone says, as happened this morning: "That's the word we all needed to hear." And even more specific adjectives, like "clear", are preferable, I think.

I suppose the one disappointing, though not entirely surprising, thing for me is that my parents, who heard me speak for the first time today, just didn't really quite know what to make of it; both the point of the talk, and the fact that it was their son who was giving it. They discussed some of the other items which were shared this morning, but they pointedly avoided any discussion of mine. One rule I sometimes use in writing talks is: would my mum get the main point? And maybe I failed.

The other thing that's really difficult, of course, is for the preacher to consciously point away from oneself. The lines from Kate Wilkinson's hymn is one I will constantly need to repeat to myself: "And may they forget the channel / Seeing only him".

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, glad to hear about the speaking debut. I feel so proud but of course, the point is to make Christ known...bit disappointing to hear re: parents but in God's time.

Bro in London

10:29 pm  
Blogger BK said...

Thanks. You know we haven't talked in too long!

12:24 pm  
Anonymous Hedonese said...

:) Proud of you bro! I am thankful of all those who suffered under my sermons many times before things got bearable :)

6:52 am  

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