Preparing for a Sermon

This Sunday evening (April 6th), during the 6:30 service, I will be teaching at Mosaic.

The last time I preached a full-on sermon (not lead a Bible study, but a full on teaching time to a church) was when I used to preach at Willoughby Baptist Church during my high school/college years (they're looking for a pastor.  A church like Willoughby would be a blast to work at).  Getting back into the idea and discipline of speaking is incredibly exciting for me.

Preaching is a strange thing, to be honest.  For a pastor to be expected to come up with a teaching or lesson each week that helps the spiritual growth of the church he serves is a deal that gets less thought from the congregation than it should.  Preparing a sermon means so many things.  Not only do you have to do the research to be sure that what is being taught is theologically sound, but the message competes with all the other messages an individual recieves throughout the week.  A fifteen-to-fifty minute talking head on one subject is simply not replicated in any other medium for the common person, unless they are involved in schooling and recieve lectures from professors.

So during the week, the pastor must bathe the message in prayer, to be sure that the words are from God, not just human utterances.  The pastor must be sure that any personal knowledge of issues in the church don't betray confidences from the pulpit, yet be sure that the message is applicable to the lives of the congegration.  And it's almost standard that the pastor must have at lest a good joke or two.  The preparation for a sermon is, without question, spiritually and mentally draining.

Our pastor, Gary, is having dental work done and wanted to be sure that he would be well rested - and not too loopy - and has asked James Jackson to preach in the morning and for me to preach in the evening.  I'm settling in on an idea for the sermon... but this brings in only more questions.

How do you decide what to teach on to a church?  If you have an opportunity to help the spirital development of the community closest to you, how do you whittle down a message that is meaningful, impactful, and representative of the lessons that life, friends and God has taught you?

I'm excited to see what this week will bring me; what struggles, joys, revelations and humbling experiences.  It's an honoring, humbling thing to be asked to fill in for a pastor; thank you for the opportunity, Gary.