May 28, 2017

We All Must Start Sometime - Bruce Atchison

Though I'm not an ordained minister, a local pastor gave me the unparalleled privilege of preaching my first sermon at his church. I accepted the challenge eagerly, though I felt considerable trepidation.

Friends from his congregation drove me to church an hour before the service started. As they set up the Power Point song lyrics and the choir practiced, I kept reading the notes I jotted down the day before. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was led to say to the congregants.

As the service began and the songs were sung, I did my best to quell the fears pestering me. Standing and giving my testimony was one thing but giving an actual sermon gave me pause.

The pastor introduced me to his congregation and then it was my turn to speak. I was on.

Listening to the recording I made with my cell phone, I did fairly well. There was one point where I read the wrong scripture and got lost. Even so, nobody complained.

I also discovered later that I had too many "umms" in my sermon. Having been criticized by my mother and others when I didn't speak to their satisfaction, I still find myself dreading the usual, unsolicited corrections given to me. "Get to the point," they complained. "Don't say 'umm' when you speak to people," others drilled into me.

It's easy for others to quote Jeremiah 1:8 (KJV) which says, "Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD." Likewise, 1 Timothy 4:12 (KJV) is easy enough to read to nervous preachers. "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou  an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in  spirit, in faith, in purity."

But the way we become confident is with continuous practice. We all have experienced that with our writing. The best way to begin is to start and never mind what clueless, amateur critics say. What do they know anyway?


  1. That must have been exciting, Bruce, and I'm sure you did well considering how interesting your blog posts are. I like how succinct and to the point they are. Press on!
    Pam Mytroen

  2. Good for you, Bruce. You certainly did face your fear head on when you delivered a sermon. That is not an easy task even when God inspires in you the words he wants you to say. You still have to face the people and speak! I know that there are many verses in the bible that offer us courage and they are all easy enough for us to read but putting them into practice is another thing and yes - continuous practice does help build your confidence. Thanks for sharing with us the story of your first sermon.

  3. Good for you, Bruce, on accepting this challenge and opportunity to deliver your first sermon. Years ago my wise and loving older sister gave me a plaque with this affirmation on it: "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" From Isaiah 30:15


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