It’s Wednesday morning and the pressure is on. You need to understand that I have a routine to each week of ministry in order for you to understand today. On Monday I do all the busy work of ministry like email, tracking information, mail, banking and whatever the weekend has laid on my desk. Tuesday is for sermon research and building the outline that will hold the structure of the message together. If I am lucky there will be three or four typed pages as a result of my work. Then I sit down in my chair this morning. Today I need to fill out the outline with ideas and illustrations. I need to cut out the distractions and make this sermon 90% ready for Sunday. Thursday will be for an edit, preaching through it and one more edit until Sunday morning.
Today the pressure is on me to get this sermon done. The real pressure is not just getting the sermon finished, it is found in making it great. No preacher sets his goal on having an average sermon on Sunday morning – at least I hope not. Personally, I want every sermon to be a home run. I want people to leave the building chanting “Jesus, Jesus” while drastically altering their life for God. I want each week to be incredibly educational, entertaining and challenging while honoring God’s word.
Unfortunately I have learned through the years that no one can hit a home run every time at bat. In fact, it is that analogy that helps me make it through every Wednesday. Years ago I heard Rick Warren say that his goal was not to get a home run every Sunday but to make contact with the ball and try to get on base. A home run may leave people breathless after the sermon but a series of singles and doubles will keep people moving for God. This simple analogy keeps me sane.
Let me be 100% honest – some sermons are not for you. Sometimes I need to speak the young people, some weeks I need to explain grace to new people, some Sundays I need to challenge the long time pew sitters. Every Sunday I have to focus the sermon toward who God is trying to touch. The Biblical text usually directs this for me. For example, last Sunday the text focused on elders and teachers. I can look at the text from all angles and try to touch everyone, but unfortunately not everyone will feel moved by it. That is just a fact of preaching and the nature of Biblical truth. Some parts are not written for you, but they are written for someone so they need explaining.
Today I will sit here trying to write the best sermon I can possibly write. My goal is that what I write will touch someone who God has been working on through the week. Or maybe God will start a work in someone because of their new understanding of Him. The majority may love it and it will be viewed as a home run or it may be a single and only a handful of people will be moved to greater faith. Either way God is accomplishing his work and I am glad he is using me to be a part of it.