Someone said for each minute you spend behind the pulpit, spend one hour in preparation. One of the top responsibilities of a Pastor is to faithfully preach the whole counsel of God’s word, carefully explaining the meaning of the text and applying it to the lives of those under his care. As Pastors, we should treat the task of preaching as a sacred responsibility and give our best to prepare and preach a sermon. God expects us to be faithful stewards of His precious Word. How can we claim to be faithful stewards if we don’t even allocate time to prepare. In the past 24 years of ministry, I have met Pastors who walk into the pulpit without preparation, preach rubbish, and then give excuses to defend poor preparation. Given below are eight examples of such excuses. Are you guilty of these excuses today?
1. A sign of Immaturity and Inexperience
I feel like punching the preacher on the nose when he says preparation is a sign of immaturity and inexperience. How dare? Pastors who don’t spend sufficient time in preparation use this excuse not only to defend themselves but to demote preachers that do prepare. Truth be told the more you spend time in preparation the more mature you become and the more exposure you gain to God’s word.
2. Lacks the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
A lazy preacher will say and do anything to save his skin and this is one such excuse (Don’t be like him). It’s not. The Holy Spirit is in the constant business of inspiring God’s spokesmen they just need to be sensitive and receptive. Besides most of the inspiration takes place while you prepare. Therefore, chances are much less the Holy Spirit will inspire you unless you spend quality time in preparation.
3. Preparation hinders the Holy Spirit
Once again this is not true. The Spirit-led Pastor will always know when the Holy Spirit wants to move in a different way. A discussion for another time but my point is it’s not the preparation that hinders the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s the insensitivity stemming from poor preparation that hinders the work of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s not make Holy Spirit our scapegoat. We have done that with the devil enough times.
4. Preparation is a lack of the Anointing
This one is a lie from the pit of hell! Anointing doesn’t come upon nothingness or emptiness. Anointing rather comes upon what you already have. The anointing will not prepare your sermon for you. Besides the anointing is best expressed at the time of the delivery of your sermon. How are you supposed to deliver something when you have nothing? Consider Moses’ Staff or the Donkey’s jawbone in the hands of Samson for example.
5. Jesus and the Apostles never Prepared
True, the Bible doesn’t say Jesus and the apostles spent time in preparation. In fact, Peter did not have time for preparation on the day of Pentecost. The difference however is in the results. When Peter preached, prepared or not 3,000 – 5,000 people accepted Christ as their personal savior. How many have got saved when you preached without prior preparation? Let’s not throw Jesus and the apostles under the bus so that we can preach rubbish and call it a sermon.
6. Preparation indicates a lack of Faith
This is Psalms 81:10 taken out of its context. It has absolutely nothing to do with the preaching ministry. In fact, the Bible says faith without action is dead. I am telling you today, if anyone takes time to prepare before walking into the pulpit it’s indeed because he has faith in God to guide him. If you are too lazy to not prepare it’s a problem between you and God. Let’s not just say preparation indicates a lack of faith.
7. The Celebrity Preachers don’t Prepare
Celebrity Preachers often look like preaching without notes. It doesn’t mean they are unprepared though. Sometimes they conceal their notes. Majority of the time however they give a good deal of careful thought to his message and extract its vital aspects for hours before walking into the pulpit. Just because you cannot see the notes doesn’t mean he is not prepared. Besides, who said that you are a celebrity Preacher?
8. I am very busy and I seldom have Time
Nobody can spend 24 hours on sermon preparation. Nobody is asking you. You just need to find the right balance and put your priorities in order. Remember, if you are a poor steward of your time chances are high that you are a poor steward of everything else (Ex: Finance and Resources) Think about Jesus. He didn’t have our luxuries and yet he visited, he taught, and he raised 12 disciples, within a period as short as three years and still preached some of the best sermons we have ever heard. Are you busier than Jesus?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” We can tell the same about preaching. How far will you go to prepare your sermon? What is the highest price you will not hesitate to pay for preparing an effective sermon? Remember, preaching God’s Word is the most sacred responsibility God has trusted us with. He demands that we remain faithful to that responsibility. Preaching God’s Word is a privilege we have. God demands that we don’t take that privilege for granted. The message you preach might be the difference between life and death or heaven and hell for somebody. I sincerely hope and pray this series will inspire you to do better next time.
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