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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.
Hello awesome friends!
This is a message I had the privilege to preach at one of my favorite churches ever. They’re a wonderfully joyful and responsive congregation.
The sermon is titled: The Relentless, Reckless, Furious Glory of God.
In this message, I talk about the Glory of God, what it means it glorify Him, and how. The passage is John 3:25-30.
Some of the things I talk about are: The guy who always kills the joke, that time in sixth grade I told the prettiest girl in school that I liked her, and that moment Jesus comes back with a sword out his face and his head on fire. Plus a spoken word performance.
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Hello beloved friends!
I had the privilege to preach at a wonderful church in Huntsville, Alabama.
The sermon is titled: A Living, Breathing, Pulsing, Dirt-Filled Faith.
In this message, I discuss real relational intimacy with our Father — about a faith that is bigger than just church. The passage is John 15:9-17.
Some of the things I talk about: The time my dad saved my brother from drowning on a tricycle, how the homeless helped me love Jesus, that time Jesus busted a drug ring, and the greatest Christian I ever met.
There’s always a cringe-worthy moment on Sundays when the preacher drops an anvil in the pulpit that suffocates the whole sermon.
It’s a shrill phrase, nails on a chalkboard, subtle as a sledgehammer, insensitive, no tact, no grace, a lazy tactic that’s meant to stir up something but disregards actual human interaction.
Pastors: don’t just describe the water that we’re drowning in. That helps no one. Show us how to swim.
I’m not above these things and have and occasionally caught myself in the middle of a sermon to laugh at them. Let’s be a little more self-aware and nip these at the bud.