One of the most fulfilling things I get to do as a pastor is preach. It is not easy, but it doesn’t need to be easy. I still love it. I’m sure you love it too. To celebrate the joys of preaching, this Thanksgiving week I want to share four things I’m thankful for as a preacher:
1. Getting to do what I love.
Preaching gives me an opportunity to do something I really enjoy. I love to inspire, challenge, motivate and encourage others. I love to be creative and think outside the box. I love to develop and present content that helps people. Preaching encompasses all of these wonderful things. It is an art that I love to work on and improve. I’m thankful for preaching because I love to do it. It’s exhilarating. If you preach you understand exactly what I’m talking about.
2. Seeing how God used me to work in someone’s life.
I’ve written about how to get more helpful feedback on your sermons because specific input is the best way to know how to improve. But there is another kind of feedback we get from preaching that is so rewarding. It’s a remarkable feeling when you’re approached by someone who tells you how something you said in a sermon made a difference in their lives. When they say things like, “What you said in that sermon changed my life.” or “God spoke to me powerfully when you preached.” or “There was something about what you said that I couldn’t shake, it changed my life.” There’s nothing like those moments because you actually get to see how God used you.
3. The agony of sermon prep.
Sermon prep is some of the most vexing, agonizing work I do. Sunday comes whether the sermon is ready or not. The pressure can be overwhelming. Part of my preparation process is in a team, and I have a weekly sermon prep schedule. These processes make it easier, but it is still a daunting task. Either way, I’m actually thankful for this. Mostly because as a preacher I am forced, forced I tell you to study the Bible in depth all the time. I have to dig deep. And by the time I preach I benefit from having spent hours in preparation absorbing the text.
Nothing makes something stick to your memory more than teaching it. I can think back on passages of Scripture that I’ve preached through with such fond memories of pouring over those words, studying their meaning and letting God’s word work in my life. Only those who preach and teach can fully understand this benefit. It’s unforgettable.
4. The joy of fulfilling my calling.
Preaching is truly a calling for me. It is not a chore. It is a not a dreaded task. It is one of the reasons why I am here. I so relate to Paul’s words, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16) When I preach I experience the joy of knowing that I’m doing what God has called me to do. My position and ministry require much than preaching. But preaching is truly what I enjoy the most, and I am so thankful for it.
My love for preaching is what led me to start this blog. My writing is all about helping preachers communicate better because I want to do all I can to help you enjoy preaching to its fullest. This leads me to the last thing I’m thankful for as a preacher: you. You, the reader, the preacher, the person looking to improve your communication. The fact that you read this project of mine called Preaching Donkey is something I am tremendously grateful for. I learn a great deal from conversations with you in the comments and on the Preaching Donkey Twitter. Thank you for making the process of becoming better preachers together such a joy! Happy Thanksgiving.
What about you? What are you thankful for as a preacher?