Friday, June 15, 2007

Reflections on My First Sermon

This past Sunday I was blessed with an opportunity to preach my first actual sermon. I have taught in Sunday school, Awana, and in other formats and settings in the church, but I have not ever been able to preach (not teach) a sermon (not a lesson) to the congregation.

The difference between preaching and teaching, as I understand it, is one of presentation. In other words, it is a style difference rather than a substance difference. When I teach a lesson, my purpose is more to illuminate what the Scripture says and means, but when I preach my goal is to persuade someone of that truth and call to action or to conviction.

To be fair, I don’t think that I teach in a sterile teaching way, there is some exhortation and calling for action or conviction in whatever I do. But when I went to preach (and as I prepare the two or three other messages that I am being asked to deliver this summer), my goal was not to preach on a passage that the congregation had heard 17 times before and walk out not being confronted by the Scripture. My goal was to dig a bit deeper (or broader) and call our attention, as a church, to the cause of discipleship. Truth be told, I didn’t really think about the word “discipleship” as being a focus of my message until days after I had delivered it, but it may be a good summary of my overall emphasis.

I want to let the actual sermon that I gave stand on its own, so I will not try to re-preach it here. I pray and hope that it is a beneficial, and (more importantly) a correct, understanding and communication of the substance of the Scripture at hand. Knowing that it is not a full and complete revelation of the truth contained in the verses, my desire is that my small sliver of understanding was extracted correctly from the text and presented clearly to the audience.

Please click here to listen to my first sermon.


Nate J. said...

Way to go Eric. I plan on listening sometime soon. I've found that preaching is something you need to do to yourself first in order to most-effectively preach to others.

EJ said...

I agree, nate. This sermon (and the one that I'm working on for this Sunday) is turning out to be more of a sermon that I need to hear, perhaps, than anyone else.

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