For the past twenty-eight years, one of the great passions of my life has been preaching God’s Word. In the past year, I’ve been privileged to add a new dimension to that passion—training others to preach God’s Word.
I’m currently teaching a course known as Hom 1 (short for Homiletics 1). It’s the entry-level preaching course at Heritage.
Every Tuesday night, I teach a group of twenty-five preachers-in-training. For much of the semester I’ve done most of the talking. That all changed this week as students began giving their sermons. For some of them, this was their first sermon. Ever. So it’s not surprising that the mix of anxiety and anticipation was a bit higher as class started last Tuesday evening.
I remember having sweaty palms and a churning stomach when I was in a preaching class back in my seminary days. And there are still times when I feel nervous before getting up to preach. That’s why I’ve been telling my students about a biblical truth that helps calm my nervous heart and focus my racing mind.
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).
In this verse, Paul explains how he sees his role as a preacher: “your servant for Jesus’ sake.”
I’ve found this perspective helps me get my eyes off myself as I speak. It reminds me that my reason for preaching is to serve, not to shine. I’m there to impart, not to impress. My job is to promote the welfare of others according to the will of Christ.
To my delight, the young preachers in Hom 1 seem to understand this. They preached with more confidence and competence than you would have expected. Their messages were faithful to the Scriptures and helpful to their hearers.
These young preachers-in-training still have a ways to go and still have room to grow. But I’m hopeful that many of them will become faithful and fruitful pastors, serving others for Jesus’ sake.