What I learned from my summer sermon

Back on August 12, I had my first chance to give the sermon in the main service on a Sunday morning. I'm definitely used to giving Gospel minutes during our fellowship time after church, or messages to the youth group every month when we meet there, but this was a whole other animal.

Here's the sermon. When you click the link it'll take you to the sermon page, and then just click my name (I'm the only "Isaac" on the page) and the sermon will play.

Here's what I learned by writing this sermon:

I learned it's especially tough to write a lively proclamation of the Good News when you're in an especially dry spiritual season. I started doing the Bible study and research for this message a good two weeks before I got to give it, and the thing wouldn't write. I'd get an idea for the introduction onto the page, then couldn't back it up. Or the idea would end up being too complicated to keep my attention, and I'd know the congregation would think the same thing.

This part taught me to rely on prayer more than on my imagination. Rather than jumping straight into the message, I should have taken that first week to sit with God about it.

I learned that when you have a limited time in which to speak, it's probably wise to focus on one or two aspects of the Scripture that's been assigned. The passage I had began with "Have no fear, little flock," and moved through "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," and "Be ready for Christ to return," and finished with "This is serious, people!" just to tie it all together. (That last one wasn't in there verbatim, but it's a good reminder to add to the end of Gospel readings, I think!)

This part taught me to pick the piece that I am post passionate about telling people, and then pour myself into it, when I have such a buffet table to pick from. See the earlier post on giving speeches.

Finally, when I showed up at Rev. Heather's doorstep at 9pm on Saturday, I learned (because she told me) that when a congregation listens to a preacher, they'll connect to the message best by hearing how the Gospel affected the preacher's life. What the congregation suspects is that there's really something going on in this Bible-thing; hearing a story about a real person they know can help bring that out.

The next time I preach, I'll learn a whole different set of lessons, and hopefully put these few into practice. What's really surprised me about this preaching experience is that I knew all of those things from building youth group messages, and had to learn them all over again when writing a sermon for the full congregation.


CarrieAnn said...

Good sermon... I haven't heard your voice in such a long time, it sounded older :-) Thank you for not being like all the other lutheran sermons I've heard recently.(only a few in the past several years) It's good to know that not everyone is like my BIL. (Who can't use humor in a sermon.)
Thanks for sharing.

Isaac, The Rookie said...

It might not sound like a Lutheran sermon because it was preached in an Episcopal church. Anyway, I'm glad you liked it. I'm hoping they'll get me on the rotation again sometime, but not too often-- there's so much to do down here in the basement and I'd hate to neglect my kids by preparing sermons!