This past sunday I was given the wonderful opportunity to preach in both services at the church I serve at. Although this was a privilege and an honor, I have never been so nervous in my life. For years I have preached to hundreds of junior high and high school students, however, bringing the Word to adults is another story.
As I spent two weeks prepping for this sermon, I continually learned many things about the passage I was going to examine and ultimately myself. The Lord has shown me golden nuggets of wisdom in every turn of study. Below is a quick list of the things I learn from preaching on Sunday.
Know Your Audience- In the context of preach or preparing a speech this is a no brainer. For years my target audience has been teenagers, and from that I’ve become accustom to prepping sermons and lessons that are taylor-made to strike at the heart of youth culture. However, in this case, since the target audience was primarily adults with vast variety backgrounds I was to use methods that seemed strange and unfamiliar. I used a “Mac vs. PC” illustration that seemed to bomb in the first service and was well received in the second service. From talking with some close colleagues and friends this was a simple mistake, and one that can be remedied with hast.
Topical vs Exposition- Typically I craft topical messages for our teenagers. I know that some have a huge problem with this, but please allow me to explain. Our wednesday nights are an open door program for our ministry, meaning that we have students with little or no biblical background walking through the door. Because of this I keep my messages on wednesdays topical in nature (i.e. what does God say about friends, love, faith, anger, etc. etc.) in that those students can walk aways some some sort of truth gleaned from the Word of God. I will throw in some tasty nuggets of “deeper-faith” insights that our students with relationships with Jesus Christ can walk away. I would also like to add that I try to always try to preach some element of Christ Crucified in that students would hear the awesome name of Jesus Christ.
For my sermon on sunday I decided to go with a hybrid approach, in that I took Philippians 4:10-13 and dissected it all the while pulling incredible principals that were applicable. I mean there’s not point of reading scripture if we’re not going to do something with it…right? So I took the opportunity to teach on being content in life in all circumstances. I broke the passage down verse by verse and gleaned amazing insights from Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi. Basically I challenged the congregation to examine their needs vs. wants all the while understanding that our strength is temporary but Christ’s is eternal and never ending (Gk. Dynamo).
Stage Presence- I like the thin that I have good stage presence, key word there…”think.” I realized that what I think is dynamic speaking is not necessarily the truth. Although I wasn’t a complete dud on stage, there where some things I needed to do better, specifically more facial expressions. For those that know, I’m a laid back guy and often with show some fantastic facial expressions but for the most part it’s just sarcastic comments with a smile. I need to work on talking with my face not just words.
Overall, I was pleased to have the honor of speaking in our main church service. I hope in the future I’ll be able to have some more opportunities to speak and harness this craft.