Out of the Pulpit for 2 Weeks

Everyone knows the preachers only work 1 day a week. When someone else is doing the preaching for us, we don’t even work that one day. People seem to think it’s easy for us. It sure isn’t for me.

Last week was the celebration of our church sanctuary’s centennial. Bishop Janice Riggle Huie was our guest speaker. She did a good job by all accounts. This week was UMW Sunday, and one of our lay speakers who is also District UMW President spoke on the history, values and activities of the UMW. She did a good job too. It’s still tough not to preach. Why?

First, I try to preach purposively. This entails the hard work of discerning what God is wanting to do in the lives of the people and knowing the people well enough to know to say what needs to be said in a way that they can hear while keeping their attention. At no time can I say everything that needs to be said, so week to week I build on what I’ve done in the past. Somethings cannot be said until I’ve laid the groundwork – sometimes for weeks, months or years. I feel like I get so few shots at people – especially since so many attend only sporadically – that I need to get every one I can.

Second, I rarely know what other preachers are going to say. There are plenty of preachers out there that say some pretty wacky things. I can too easily imagine working for a year to build to a particular point in a complex argument only to have a guest preacher come in and say something that knocks me back to square one.

So I worry too much. I take these occasions as opportunities to pray more. As pastor, it is up to me. But as for life change, that’s not my department. My job is faithful obedience. My job is working hard and investing in the lives of people.

Out for the past two weeks – but I’ll be back next Sunday!

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