New preachers my have fears concerning speaking to a crowd of listeners and similar nerves. Those of us that have preached for a while don’t tend to have nervousness to the same extent in those areas, but that doesn’t mean there are no fears. Here are some fears that may have risen in your heart in the lead up to today’s message:
Content Fears. What if I got it wrong? What if I’ve missed the point? Am I going to say something that is actually heretical? Is this message simply too simple? This can lead into…
Passage Fears. Should I switch passage? The meeting is in a few hours, should I switch now? The meeting is in a few minutes, should I switch now?
Listener Fears. He or she will be listening, what will they think? What if so and so doesn’t approve? I shouldn’t be the one preaching.
Personal Fears. Who am I to preach this? Has this really been applied to me first? Why do I suddenly feel so inadequate?
These and many more fears can creep up on a preacher before any or every message. Pray about the fears, bring them to God. Fear and faith fight a battle within. Faith doesn’t require the total absence of fear, but they don’t cohabit well. Allow fear to push your gaze back onto the Lord. Consider whether this fear should be simply resisted and dismissed, or written down to be addressed later in more extended prayer. Briefly consider whether change is needed to the message, but don’t undermine hours of prayerful work because of fear.
Perhaps as you shift your gaze back onto the Lord you will find renewed motivation to preach this message exactly as it is. After all, if the fears are coming from a source beyond yourself, it is worth considering the motivation. Perhaps there is fear of what your message might do, the light it might shine into darkness?
You’ve prayerfully prepared? Step forward relying fully on Him, preach His Word. Preach in the mighty strength of your own weakness – a contradictory paradox, unless, of course, we do not go to the pulpit alone!