I have always had an interest in becoming a stand-up comic. I know there will be people who will smirk and say I am not funny. I understand that I am not currently qualified in any way to be a comedian. As a result, at one time I did some research on how to become a comedian. People shared several stories and ideas of their journey into comedy. One article I ran across was an interview with Patton Oswalt (not a Christian in any way). He told his story of becoming a nationally known comedian. He said he didn’t take a class, in fact, he made fun of people who did take classes usually at local community colleges. Instead, he became a good at telling jokes by standing up night after night and bombing. He shared how he would go anywhere there was an open mic and give it a shot. Over time he noticed what made people laugh, the stories he told well and how to develop an act. His suggestion was that to become a good comedian you need to fail over and over again until you get good at it.
I have found this information to be true of almost everything in life. It applies to preaching. One of the ways to become better at preaching is to preach and teach repeatedly. In the early years of my ministry, I usually spoke more than 100 times a year. This truth extends beyond just preaching in ministry to almost every area where I serve. Over the year my teaching, my small group leadership, my counseling and everything I do as a minister has significantly improved. Each improvement came at the cost of a hundred failures.
So how do you get good at anything? The biggest step is to overcome your fear of failure. That is it. Most people spend their lives as amateurs poking at things with no sincerity because they are afraid to fail.
What if I embarrass myself? What if I flop and everyone laughs at me? What if I make a mistake and say something wrong? What if it doesn’t go perfectly?
Rest easy. You will fail. You will embarrass yourself. You will make mistakes, and it will not go well. This will happen over and over again. Then one day it won’t. One day you will do it right. You will succeed. Everything will begin to go better than you imagined. People will respond, and you will finally feel good about what you are doing.
God calls us to trust him completely. He is working even in our failures. Sometimes his work does not bring about immediate results. Instead over time, he is molding us into the people he can use. All we have to do is be willing to be used even when it doesn’t look or sound pretty.