do-you-know-the-mustache-man asked a question:
So I’m speaking to my youth group this Wednesday (I’m 16 and this is the first time speaking at church) and I was just wondering if maybe you had any tips?
My friend, that is awesome. Woo!! Let’s first be grateful to God for this amazing opportunity that you’ve been given. You and I never earned the right to preach or teach, but were given this honor by the Creator of everything so that others might know Him, be loved by Him, and love Him in return. Please start there, in a place of humility, recognizing we are absolutely unworthy to teach others with our squishy tiny 3 lb. brains and our half-inch vocal cords, to other squishy fallen human beings from a wild variety of diverse back-stories — except by the grace of God.
I mean that’s really crazy, when you think about it. I’ve never gotten over that.
I don’t want to give you a formula or checklist because then you might be tempted to follow that instead of Jesus. So here just a few things to pray about and consider. You’re not obligated to any of these nor to memorize them, so simply reflect and go forth, my friend.
1) Love your people. This is obvious, but so very often I forget to love the people who are right in front of me. Sometimes I’m so quick to check off my awesome agenda of great sermon points, that I forget these are real hurting broken struggling people who care less about my intelligence and more about their maker. Every word and sentence and theme must be fashioned out of love for your people. Let your group know that this is a big deal for you and that you’re available outside of preaching time. If they know you care about them, they’ll remember that more than the message.
2) You be you. My initial problem in preaching was imitation. When I first started, I listened to a lot of James MacDonald, who is a fiery aggressive preacher with a booming voice and roughly twenty points in every sermon. I even took on some of his tone and inflections. Soon I learned, I wasn’t good at preaching like this. My strengths were not a booming voice and twenty-point messages. If you’re not naturally funny, you don’t have to try. If you’re loud, use that to your advantage. Be comfortable with how God has made you. Part of trusting God is trusting how He made you to be you in the world. Let yourself out to play.