learning to preach

Back in September, we launched a new midweek venue for teaching called Journey Bible Classes. I went from teaching occasionally to teaching 3 or 4 weeks almost every month. This was a whole new step for me, so there were plenty of lessons to learn along the way. Now that we’re through our first year, I thought I’d reflect on some of those lessons. I’m really just writing to myself here, but you’re welcome to listen in:

  1. Don’t underestimate how much you put into 75 minutes of teaching. You’re tempted to call yourself a wuss when you wake up Thursday morning with nothing to give. Tired. Depressed. No energy. It seems like all you did Wednesday night is talk for a few minutes. But that’s not true. Do what you need to do to refill everything: heart, soul, mind, strength. And don’t apologize for needing to be refilled.
  2. Questions = momentum.  They pull us forward through the teaching.  Don't ever get up to teach if you don't have a question in mind that you're speaking to.  
  3. Resist the temptation to evaluate your teaching on the feelings you have when you leave the stage. They’re fickle and undependable. When your head hits the pillow at night, rest in the knowledge that you worked hard and preached faithfully (if you did).
  4. Don’t expect the crowd to feed your energy. When they do, that’s awesome. But you’ve probably been placed there to bring energy, not receive it.
  5. Remember that words may feel flimsy, but they rarely are. Our lives are wrapped up in the words we use, the words we hear, the words we speak to ourselves over and over again. Trust their impact.  Keep Paul’s instructions to Timothy in front of you constantly:

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”