May 28, 2017
We All Must Start Sometime - Bruce Atchison
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?