Every so often as a preacher of the gospel, you will have external issues which will affect your thinking and your countenance prior to your entry into the pulpit. Issues that happen at home, or just before the service can take the wind out of your sails and affect the tone of your sermon. What are some steps you can take?
- Get as much ready at home on Saturday night. Lay out the clothes for all your children and yourself on Saturday night. Get a good night’s sleep so that Sunday morning is not rushed–which may mean arising out of bed a half-hour to an hour earlier than normal.
- Set up boundaries regarding conversation before your sermon. This morning, a deacon approached me about something. I told him, “If this is bad news and can wait until afterwards, can we talk about it then?” He told me, “Preacher, I wouldn’t do that to you”–then he smiled. Emergencies will come up (such was the case with us when we had flooding downstairs) that need immediate attention. But otherwise, address these issues at a later time, for the morning preaching is far too important. The preacher needs all of his faculties in working order.
- Be aware that Satan will do all he can to ruin our disposition before we walk out of our house. Need I say more?
- Be sure you are bathed in prayer during the first portion of the service. Engage in the congregational singing and prayer. Enjoy the fellowship you may have with your people. Greet visitors and let them know how thankful you are they came and how you’d like to partner with them in prayer. But ask the Lord to bring you into His presence so our minds and hearts are focused on Him and His Word!
- Be sure you know your passage well! You never know what will happen on the morning of the preaching event, so the preparation during the week is absolutely critical. Like a football player who knows his routes or blocking schemes through the weekly preparation and repetition, so does this apply to preachers of the Word. The week should be having the Word on which we shall be preaching simmering in our hearts and minds as a grid for all we do.
- Remember your calling! Strengthen your people! Share the gospel! Fulfill your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit! You have the risen and victorious Christ empowering you!
Any other thoughts?