Monday, June 7, 2010

For First Time Preachers

I've had the opportunity to speak in my church, and to do some public preaching. It's not something that comes naturally to most of us. I recall the first time I spoke to a particular group in my my church. It was a ministry to people on the street or who had basic needs. I was asked to speak about "The Cross". I didn't exactly prepare for that topic, but I did come with a topic I called "The Hope of the Resurrection".

As I spoke about the resurrection, I mentioned that because of sin our bodies suffer from disease and death. It's a consequence of the Fall. After my sermon, I was approached by a couple of angry listeners! They accused me of saying that sick people are sinful, as if sickness were a sign of personal sin. They "heard me" wrong. I tried to reason with them, but they left as unsatisfied customers.

Later, I got a letter from the group leadership. Actually, it was a list of standards for speakers in the church. I don't have a copy of it now, but it listed some basic points of protocol for what is acceptable and not while speaking to a group from the Bible. Well, seems they got a few complaints about me.

And so it is that I learned the hard way that you need to use your words very carefully, because people can hear you a certain way, and misquote you. I recall too that a pastor once told me, young preachers like to show off all that they know.

So, don't show off, and speak carefully. Self-evident ?....yes! But always good reminders.

"He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit"  (Proverbs 17:27)

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