Monday, May 30, 2011

How Did It Go?

A worthy question.  Thank you for asking!

I still am not a preacher.  But apparently I do a pretty good imitation of one.

I was overprepared.  I think most people who feel inadequate probably end up with too much material.  Having so few speaking opportunities, I had no idea how long each part of my "message" would last.  I prepared four segments - one outline, one word-for-word section, one printout of a Bible passage with brief notes, and a suggestion of something to add at the end with no notes whatsoever.  I had no idea which format would be most effective, and this seemed a good way of making sure I had something I'd be able to communicate while standing before a group of people.

The woman who prayed for the service before it began did a great thing, let me tell you.  I was not nervous (not even one little bit).  Standing in front of an assembly of women, most of whom I'd never met and the rest whom I see every week, felt quite natural.  Although I don't remember the blow-by-blow, apparently I was coherent and even somewhat interesting.  As I spoke, I actually looked people in the eye, gestured, and added little bits of humor.

Something I learned about myself:  I am amazingly extemporaneous.  For all my planning, each segment turned out to be a mere launching point for discussion.  My  preparation made my speaking points seem old friends with whom I had much in common, and about whom I could relate familiar detail.

Afterward, a number of ladies approached me with positive comments.  Since I had four segments to my message, there was a lot of ground covered, but there was not one segment that went without comment.  That made me very happy!  As I stood baring my soul, I suspected I was going on a little long, and I wondered if I was wasting my time and theirs.  I was glad to learn that they found my words valuable.

So what did I learn?  I learned that speaking, or preaching, is not a mystical experience.  It's hard work and lots of preparation.  Even though I'm married to a pastor and I see this week by week, it took personal experience to apprehend it for myself.  I also learned that God will speak to His people, even if He has to use someone like me to do it - and that leads me to the realization that those who speak for Him are wholly human.  If they don't measure up, well, neither do I.  That's what grace is for.  Again, I see it in my husband, but it seemed more miraculous when it was me.

I also learned something that the apostle Paul taught long ago.  When we are weak, God steps in with His strength.  It's a good thing to be weak, then.  I can't imagine what would have happened if I'd tried to read my notes and muddle through it alone.  As it was, I prepared and planned, then offered what I had, and God stepped in and called it good.

I am not a preacher, but God can use me as one, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. That's a good thing, then! Those whom God calls, He equips. I believe this.

    Sometimes our best equipping comes in realizing our own weakness. And it sounds like you get that!