Over the last few months, I have sensed that God has been specifically challenging me in the area of my preaching. The long and short of it is that, I believe God is calling me to preach from a posture of faith rather than a posture of control or preparedness (more accurately, overly obsessive preparedness). In the past, my pattern and routine for preparation has been to write out and work through just about every word and detail of the sermon. To know exactly where I am going so that when the preaching moment comes along there are no surprises.
But in that last few months there have been a handful of weeks where I haven’t been able to do that. For a variety of different reasons, during those weeks, my sermon prep time was interrupted by urgent matters needing my attention. So without the time to write it all out and work through every detail, I was left to preach from a general outline, a handful of big ideas with plenty of gaps in between.
But what I found, after preaching those messages, was that they were some of the better sermons I’ve preached in the last six months. And now, on the other side of those sermons, I’m sensing that God is teaching me to be present to rather than simply prepared for the preaching moment. That doesn’t mean not cracking a book and studying hard, praying through and meditating on the text, listening to other preachers on the same passage, etc… But rather, it means preparing and preaching in such a way that I have to rely on God in the preaching moment instead of my preparation and skill. It means believing that God is at work in the preaching moment in ways that I can’t “prepare for.”
I write this because I sincerely want to know if other preachers have experienced this same thing? How have you learned to live in the tension of being prepared but also being open to where God is moving where you didn’t anticipate? What does it look like for you to prepare and preach from a posture of faith?
As I am wrestling through this, I would love to hear from anyone who has or is experiencing something similar.