Since I am going on holiday with my family, I am also not writing new material this week. But here are a few posts from years ago that might be of interest . . .
I still remember the first pulpit advice I received. I was a teenager and had been asked to lead a meeting. I wasn’t preaching, but I was chairing the meeting, introducing songs, speaker, doing the reading, praying, etc. Afterwards my youth leader came to me and encouraged me that I’d done well. Then he offered this advice; “Don’t ever apologize for what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter who asked you, or how incapable you may feel, God has allowed you to be there so don’t apologize.”
The ingredients to a pulpit introductory apology tend to include feelings of inadequacy, any lack of preparation, feelings of humility, a desire to appear humble, a lack of planning for opening comments, nervousness, etc. The ingredients are understandable, but the result is not helpful. Don’t apologize. It grossly undermines credibility and can easily transfer your anxiety to your listeners.
If you are humble, it will show. But if you are nervous, unprepared, unqualified, incapable, etc., people don’t need that pointed out to them. They may notice, and they will usually be very gracious. Or more often than you realize, they will not notice at all. The first time I taught a lecture at seminary I mentioned that time was running low so I had to skip some material. My prof followed up on that, “Don’t tell them you are cutting stuff out, let them think they’re getting the full meal deal!”
What was the first helpful pulpit advice you received?