Facts About Preaching Only Pastors Can Understand

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Churches usually have only a few preachers (if they have more than one) and many more members of the congregation. I write this post to help members understand preachers a little more—and, I trust, pray more for us.

  1. Once the "preaching bug" bites, it's tough to ever get away from it. There's no way to explain it unless you've felt it. It's an overwhelming, undeniable sense of calling.
  2. We're usually our own worst critics. Sure, most of us have critics—but few of us have critics as tough on us as we are on ourselves.
  3. A perceived "good day" in the pulpit is exhilarating. It's tiring, but it's a weird kind of tired. It's the kind of tired that says, "I can't wait to do it again."
  4. A perceived "bad day" in the pulpit is exhausting. It's an emotional, physical and spiritual drain that sometimes makes us think, I don't know if I should ever do that again. 
  5. It's easy to get lazy in sermon preparation. The resources are many, and the preparation time is sometimes short—so we learn shortcuts to a sermon. Many of us have to fight this temptation.
  6. We both want and don't want evaluations of our sermons. We want to improve, but we'd usually like to improve without others pointing out our weaknesses. We're human.
  7. We can't avoid gauging the crowd as we preach. Nobody I know wants to preach just for the crowd, but we catch it when the congregation doesn't seem to be with us. We don't usually miss the signs.
  8. We know when we're underprepared. Whether it's our personal spiritual walk or our practical study for a sermon, we know when we're not ready to bring the Word of God. It happens.
  9. We love it when a child "gets it" through our preaching. When the littlest guys and girls understand the Word from us, adults will "get it," too.
  10. We grieve and quake a bit when we hear of other preachers who fall. We know our role as proclaimer puts us in the enemy's sights. We also know that except for the grace of God, we would all be shot down.

Preachers, what would you add? Laity, please pray for us.

Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.

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