Waiting For Your Turn To Preach
Here is an area in which God has had to rake me over the coals...and I still may not have learned my lesson entirely. I feel as though I was called to preach. I think most second men I know feel that way, and might I add, the "second men" (deacons) in the book of Acts were preachers and soul-winners! But occasionally I find myself feeling like I am restricted from sufficient opportunities to preach. I have a running joke with my pastor, whenever he is feeling the slightest bit ill or is out of town the day before a church service, "It's OK, I've got a sermon ready if you can't make it." I have to keep reminding him that I am just joking...but I really am NEVER too busy to preach!
Occasionally I cross paths with Brother Sam Davison, my Homiletics teacher as well as my pastor for a time. He almost always asks me "You doing any preaching?" After a few times being asked that question, I began to realize my answer was always something like "I wish I could preach more!" or "Not enough!" I have since realized how awful of an answer that is. I'm not sure if he even knew he was teaching me another lesson about preaching, but now every time I think about how little I THINK I get to preach, I see Brother Sam's face (the dissatisfied expression he always gave me when I answered his question the way I did).
First of all, if a man thinks preaching is limited to standing behind a pulpit on a Sunday or Wednesday evening (not to mention, Heavens to Betsy, a Sunday morning service!), he is grossly mistaken. The Truth can be heralded anywhere or anytime, and that is "preaching." If God called me to preach the gospel, the answer to the question "You doing any preaching?" should be "I try to preach to everyone I can." The problem is, sadly, that just wouldn't be true. Every man who is called to preach should be asking himself "When is the last time I preached to my neighbors?" (Of course, I'm not necessarily recommending we all go down the streets with sandwich signs and bullhorns, shouting to everyone from the sidewalk "Repent or die! Turn or Burn!" But we can certainly preach outside the walls of our church building.)
And that brings up my next point--what about prison ministries, homeless shelters, nursing homes, etc.? Our pastors would probably not be against us volunteering some time in these ministries where few preachers dare to go. In fact, many churches benefit greatly from such ministries and reap the fruit of such efforts as families are brought to the church and can be discipled there. Before we complain about not being able to preach when and where we want, lets take advantage of other opportunities beyond our pastor's pulpit (if I can call it that).
Finally, many second men I know already have a great responsibility to work with children or teenagers. These ministries provide ample opportunities to preach. Right after answering Brother Sam's question, I always backed it up by saying "well, actually I DO get to preach to teens every Sunday in Sunday School and once per month at our monthy activities." I felt better about saying that, but actually I was expressing that I felt that to be less significant than preaching from the pulpit to adults. The fact of the matter is, most life-changing decisions to follow Christ are made when we are young. That doesn't sound like insignificance to me!
Preach the Word, and may your passion for ministry grow as you "addict yourself" to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
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