Stop Working on Your Sermon
Here's what I know. It's Thursday afternoon, and preachers all around the world are scrambling -- trying to figure out what in the world they're going to preach Sunday morning. I think it was Chuck Swindoll who says, "When you're in ministry, Sunday feels like it comes around every three days." It's true! Sunday is relentless.
Sunday does not care if you've had a bad week, if your kids got in trouble at school, if your spouse hates you, if you're sick, if you had a funeral, a wedding, and hospital visitation every day this week. Sunday could not care less if you have money trouble, if your car broke down, if your parents are in failing health, or if your water heater burst and flooded the entire first floor of your house. Sunday shows up. Ready or not, here it comes, and you'd better have something worthwhile to talk about for 35 minutes!
Here's something else I know. It's Thursday afternoon, and preachers all around the world are doing everything they can to avoid working on their sermons. It's weird, but there are actual studies that show this is the time of the week when pastors feel the most pressure about their sermon and also spend more time on social media sites, checking their fantasy football team's roster, maybe looking at one of "those" sites that they know they shouldn't look at....
So, I'm going to do something counter-intuitive here. I'm going to ask you to stop working on your sermon.
Minimize the window.
Put a bookmark in the commentary and close it.
For the next couple of minutes, just stop working on your sermon (or pretending to).
Take a deep breath.
Relax those shoulders -- they're up around your ears right now, aren't they?
Now, remember something: You. Are. Loved.
Right now. Just the way you are. You are loved and accepted and forgiven and chosen and celebrated over. I know it's hard to believe sometimes. But you are worth it. You are worth God's love -- because he says you are. And there's not a thing you can do to make him stop loving you.
If this sermon you've been slaving over (or copying from someone else) bombs -- God doesn't walk away from you. If revival falls from heaven as a result of it -- God doesn't love you more than he already does. Whatever happens on Sunday morning, the sun will rise again on Monday.
You are loved.
Now, I want you to imagine something: Imagine having someone who can remind you of that every couple of weeks -- someone who can help you figure out what to preach next and why -- someone who can recommend books and other resources -- someone who is on your side, has nothing but your best interests at heart, and wants you to be the best preacher you can be.
Can you imagine that?
How much better could you be if you stopped working so hard on your sermon and started working a little on your preaching?
That's what I do, and I love doing it. I've helped dozens of preachers just like you -- in megachurches and in church plants, in traditional suit-and-tie churches and in churches with skinny jeans and fog machines -- stop working on their sermons so they could work on themselves and their preaching.
And I bet I could help. I bet I could help you avoid the Thursday scramble. I bet I could help you stop procrastinating and panicking. I could help you plan and prepare and get the feedback you need to be the best preacher you can be.
But, in order for me to do that, you'd have to be willing to ask for help. I wonder if you're brave enough (or humble enough) to do that. I guess we'll see.