We are coming to the end of a list of suggestions for overcoming preacher’s block . . . how about:
7. Sleep. Sometimes when you are stuck, you can be tempted to work late and miss sleep. Don’t. Get good sleep and then work productively tomorrow. We are designed to need sleep. It can be a real step of faith to leave an issue like this with God and curl up in His arms for the night. Sadly, too many preachers seem to think God is impressed by sugar and caffeine fueled fatigue that results in a vicious cycle of tiredness and inability to concentrate. We don’t get medals for staying up late and preaching poorly as a result. Don’t turn the chance to preach into an opportunity to play a mini-martyr.
8. Confess. Sometimes preacher’s block is really the fruit of indiscipline, inappropriate distraction, laziness, or some other sin. I don’t want to come up with a pseudo-solution to avoid facing that. If you have sinned and become aware of it, then deal with it. Confess it to God, come back to the cross, repent and lean into His care for you again. This isn’t some sort of mystical purging ritual. It is healthy relationship. You need to walk through the preparation and preaching with God close, so if you don’t feel close due to sin, then get it sorted. Any short-cut or detour that tries to hide distance in this sense will be an unwise path to take.
What would you add to the list? What do you do when you get stuck?
2 thoughts on “Overcoming Preacher’s Block – III”
There is something implicit in many of these suggestions that you absolutely have to do, or you won’t be able to do most of these.
You have to prepare early. If you have preacher’s block on Saturday night, it’s too late to sleep, read, take a walk, talk to someone, etc. You simply have to start early.
I’d add another, again somewhat implicit in much of what you’ve said. You have to trust. I’ve had the experience of going into the pulpit still suffering from preacher’s block, and seen the Lord work. His strength is made perfect in weakness. Sometimes, preparation just doesn’t go well, no matter what we do. Maybe when that happens, we are being taught not to rely on our own skill in preparation. Preacher’s block happens for a reason, and the Lord could prevent it. Trust Him that He is going to do His work despite it or through it.
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to tell the truth. I’ve gone into the pulpit and told people that preparing this sermon was a struggle. God can use that in multiple ways.
Thanks Jon, really valuable thoughts!