Tony Campolo once told about a fantastic old sermon called, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.” It was based on the passion week of Jesus. On Friday Jesus hangs on a cross and dies, but on Sunday comes the resurrection. Tony tells a great story about this sermon and its simple refrain.
I suppose hearing and reading about that has burned itself indelibly in my brain. Almost every Friday throughout my ministry life I have thought at one time or another, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.” My work week is done, and Sunday is a short time away. Worship will happen in a couple of days, and I will preach my latest sermon. Here are some of the thoughts that fill my mind on Friday and Saturday before the Church gathers again.
1. “God, make this sermon great.” Personally, my mind is never too far away from my sermon. I ask God to give me any last-minute ideas and illustrations. The sermon is frequently on repeat in my brain on Saturday night so that I can preach without many notes. Finally, I ask God to fill my words with his Spirit so that my thoughts can be received with the power of God.
2. What am I forgetting? Every Sunday has dozens of things going on as part of the worship. Did I get everything covered? What events or activities are going to need particular attention? What if someone forgets their time of service this weekend? I spend time walking step by step through Sunday in my mind so that I am sure we are prepared.
3. I hope people are praying. Honestly, I am usually very excited about Sunday morning worship. God has filled my heart through the week with a message I want to share, but I know it will have little impact if I do it alone. I want the Church to be praying along with me that God will move this Sunday and people will make changes in their life for him.
4. I pray that “so and so” shows up. Being a leader in a smaller Church allows me to know the needs of many of our attendees. I know who is struggling as a parent, spouse, worker, or believer. Some messages are prepared with specific people in mind. I pray they show up and hear something helpful. My prayers are also for new people to come and hear the gospel message for the first time. I am always talking to people and inviting them to Church. I know other members are asking as well. I pray that God will bring in the people who need to hear this message.
5. “Please, Lord, use this weekend for your glory.” Each week ends with the realization of how much of a mess my life and leadership are for the Lord. I am sure I could have been a better Christian, and I know I have made mistakes as a leader, but God, please use this Sunday despite me. God, I need you to show up and make all of the effort worth it. Bless the workers in every area of ministry. Take and use their lives for your glory. God, do something this Sunday that only you can do.
Today is Friday and Sunday is coming. You may not think much about that, but this is the time I place all my ministry in the hands of God. I am sure I am not the only pastor who feels this way. May God move this weekend powerfully in my life, your life and everyone who attends a worship program.