I saw a post recently containing confessions of a church leader by Ron Edmondson. I wondered if I could ride on the back of that and offer a few confessions of a preacher? Maybe these hit the mark, maybe not. Maybe you’ll add more, or maybe you’ll disagree that these should be here at all. Let’s see:
1. Preaching is a strange experience of being involved in a work that is really God’s work, somehow trying to honour His Word, and feed His people, and represent Him to unbelievers . . . all things that are His work, yet somehow He involves me, inadequate on all three counts.
2. Preaching is a consistently overwhelming experience. There is a sense of wonderful burden that comes from spending time in God’s Word and prayer for the church, coupled with the complicated reality of preaching to a gathering of people that are just as human as we preachers are. Sweet agony.
3. People have very strange views of preaching. Some people seem to think it is about ticking a list of random requirements that they hold us to, but don’t communicate with us (although they may be inclined to do so with others). Some people seem to think that our sermon is all they need for a week of living in a constant stream of anti-God media. Some people seem to think the only thing that matters is not going over their defined time limit, no matter how much everyone else is engaged and benefitting. Some people simply don’t seem to think about the preaching at all – like it’s a sort of strange vestige of ecclesial tradition, rather than something that might make a difference in their lives.
4. People have very strange view of the preacher. Some think that you’ve received the message on a mountain like Moses and so it must be unquestionable. Others think that the preacher is somehow not a real person and so likes to be critique fodder for the next two hours. Still others think the preacher is trying to entertain so they applaud the performance and head back into real life without any sense that there might be something actually for them to receive in a life-changing way.
I’ll add another four tomorrow, but feel free to chip in at any time via comments!