I thank God for new preachers! They are our hope for ongoing, next generation Gospel ministry. Those of us experienced in ministry have a responsibility to pour into the next generation, and create avenues for them to develop and use their spiritual gift and calling.
I remember what it was like when I first began preaching, about 25 years ago (I was 15; do the math!). When you are just starting out as a preacher, you often face (or at least, feel) certain pressures:
- Challenging and educating those who are mostly older than you
- Establishing your credibility as a preacher
- Having several good and memorable points to make
- Being taken seriously….
- Not making a fool of yourself!
I could list many more. But the reality is, you don’t need to worry about accomplishing those things. If I could give you a few things to focus on, it would be these:
- Be humble and respectful. Avoid coming across like an arrogant know-it-all. Respect the fact that most of those you are speaking to have years (or decades) more experience in life and in the Christian walk.
- Stick to a single, main point. It is far better to communicate, illustrate and drive home one powerful point, than to try and elaborate effectively on several. Chances are, they will only remember one thing anyway!
- Focus on encouraging, not educating. Even though it feels intimidating to address your elders or peers, just remember that virtually everyone listening to you is facing hurt, discouragement and fear. We are all broken, and just need some encouragement from God’s Word. Don’t try to come up with some original, memorable content that nobody has ever heard of before. Just remind us of the simple, eternal truths that we need to hear over and over again.
- Look presentable. If you want to be taken seriously, show that you take your appearance seriously. If you don’t take the time for acceptable grooming, hygiene, and clothing (in whatever context you are preaching), why should we take seriously the spiritual truths you want to share?
I am assuming you are already praying and seeking God’s direction and strength for your message. I am assuming you understand that it’s not about you, but about God and His Word. If not, please don’t go any further! But if God has called you to preach, and you have been given an opportunity to do so, then just open your heart, open God’s Word, and be God’s messenger to a world that needs to hear from Him.
What other pressures do you feel as a new preacher? What advice would you share with those in their early years? Leave a comment in the section below!