My church has three Sunday morning services. As I reflect on what it takes to preach three times in a day, I have put some things into practice that help me preach at my best at every service.
The biggest challenge for me is maintaining and sustaining energy for all three services. I arrive at the church at 8:00 am and hit the ground running with the first service beginning at 9:15 am. The second service is at 11:00 am and the third is at 12:45 pm. By the time the 12:45 service is over I have been going hard all day – preaching, talking to people, and pouring myself out. It can be a long day. A great day, but a long one.
Preaching is such an energizing activity for me. I’m sure it is for you too. I’ll have these huge adrenaline highs while I’m preaching, then I come off the high just in time to preach again which brings me back up. I repeat this process for the next service, then I go home and collapse.
But the people at the second service shouldn’t get any less energy and commitment than the people in the first service. And the people attending the third service deserve the best I can give them as well. In order to ensure that I am bringing my best to every sermon, I have developed practices and systems that keep me energized all day.
This is my 7-step survival guide for preaching multiple services. If you are going to successfully preach two or more services in a morning you need to prepare and plan for endurance. Here are some things that will help ensure your success. Some of these are painfully obvious, but those are often the ones we neglect.
1. Get a solid night’s sleep. You want to wake up on Sunday feeling well rested and ready to take on the day. I wake up at 6:30 so I make sure I’m in bed by 10:30.
2. Eat a good breakfast. Food is so important on a day that you preach multiple times. You want to begin your day with a breakfast that fuels your body and gives you lasting energy. I typically make myself a three-egg omelet, oatmeal and a grapefruit. This is a larger breakfast than I usually eat, but I do not want to deal with hunger pangs while I’m preaching the first service. Some of you might be thinking, “How does he have time to make this breakfast on Sunday mornings?” I wake up early and it only takes me about ten minutes.
3. Drink coffee. If you usually drink coffee, don’t forget to on Sunday morning! If your body needs a little caffeine to get going, give it what it wants. You don’t want to be yawning during the first service.
4. Drink more water than coffee. Don’t drink too much coffee. You do not want to be jittery. I just make sure that I drink enough water to offset the coffee a bit and make sure I’m well hydrated and my throat is not dry.
5. Go to the bathroom between services (just after one and just before the next). With all of this drinking you will need to use the bathroom. There are few things worse that when you’re about to get up to preach and you have to pee like crazy. Go to the bathroom twice between services if you can.
6. Eat a snack between services. This is SO important! Your breakfast will not get you through to the afternoon. You want to eat a quick snack between each service. I have a routine that fits in a snack time. After the service ends I am available down front for anyone who wants to talk or pray with me. When I finish these conversations I head backstage for a quick snack. I grab a banana and a granola bar or mixed nuts that I stashed in a cabinet when I got there that morning. I scarf down the food, make sure there is nothing in my teeth and I head out to the foyer to hang out with people. It takes all of five minutes and it gives me the fuel I need to keep going.
7. Guard your conversations. People will want to talk with you which is awesome! But you need to know your limits. If you preach a message and have no time to go to the bathroom, sit down for a second, grab a quick snack or even have a moment or two of silence it is really difficult to jump into the next service with the needed amount of energy. Set a time when your conversations after the sermon need to be finished, and have someone ready who can take over if there are still needs that must be addressed.
What do you do? If you preach multiple services, how do you stay energized?