I preached my first sermon today

image courtesy crylink.comI was terrified of doing this.  For all the Sunday school classes and Bible studies I’ve taught, somehow stepping behind the pulpit and speaking to the entire congregation loomed very large in my mind.  And the fear factor just kept getting worse as the day approached.  I worried that I would be Captain Obvious, wasting people’s time with spiritual cliches.  I worried that I would say something clever and new, and it would turn out to be heretical.  I worried that I would trip on my way to the pulpit, or say “Um” a thousand times, or start to cry.  I worried that the people who always glare would glare at me.  I woke up at 4:30 a.m. today after having a nightmare that the headset microphone wouldn’t stay on my head.

It was really ridiculous.

And then the moment came, and (thank you, Jesus) it was right after we’d finished singing “Jesus Paid it All”.  That hymn includes the lines,

I hear the Savior say,  “Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

My strength indeed was small, approaching the pulpit, but then…it was fine.  I became calm and focused and I had the beautiful sense, which I’ve had several times recently, that I was exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should do.  It was a gift; that much I know.

I preached on the baptism of the Lord (Mark 1:1-11), having decided to just go with a lectionary scripture, rather than waiting for the perfect sermon idea to drop down from heaven.  It turned out to be just the right scripture, I think, at least for me.  It said what I needed to hear.

My nose started running uncontrollably at one point.  Apparently all the stress left my body by way of my sinuses.  I had to pause and get a kleenex and wipe my nose in front of everyone, which is the sort of thing I’d usually find embarrassing (I’ve got issues).  But even that episode was no big deal.  I kept right on going.

People clapped when I was done, which we typically do not do in our church.  Weird, but very, very sweet.  I love my church

It’s hard to talk about calling without feeling like I sound narcissistic or faux-spiritual or something.  But really, what I feel is a mixture of humility and confusion and wonder and gratitude.  Not a bad way to live, when it comes right down to it.

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About Sharon Autenrieth

Wife, mom to 5, homeschooler, Christian Education Director, idealist, malcontent, follower of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Christian Ministry, church, spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to I preached my first sermon today

  1. Hollie says:

    So glad it went well..and so happy for you and all you are doing!!! You are inspiring, friend!

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  2. Judith Anstine says:

    Oh the things we can tell ourselves and scare ourselves with when we step out to do what God has called us to do! In our hearts we KNOW that He has control of all issues…but some how…our head has trouble having FAITH in that! Practice does make it easier, though! Walking in faith makes us stronger, as God re-affirms our TRUST in Him. Blessings!

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  3. Aaron says:

    Awesome to hear that it went well, did Supriya time it? I always considered it my job for the first few years when dad preached to time it, it was interesting to watch as he got better estimating how much notes would go for how long. At first he was afraid he’d talk to much and ended up giving 15 minute sermons. Of course my reasons may have been less noble, I do remember coming up with lots of excuses to play with various features of my watch back then.

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    • No, Supriya didn’t time it, but I am curious how long it was. Kevin recorded it, so I’ll have to ask. When I practiced, it was always horribly long – 40 minutes. But I always talk faster when I’m front of a group.

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  4. Terry Masters says:

    Hard not to feel proud of “Muffin” and stand in awe at the power of God to move us to places we never thought we would be! Such a privilege to have a part in His Kingdom!

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  5. Well done, Sharon! Are you going to post the text, or did you speak from an outline, or – ?

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    • I spoke from a text. I had it pretty well memorized, but I didn’t want to risk going blank and having to remember it. 🙂 It’s been recorded, and at some point it might wind up online. If not, maybe I will post the text. Good to hear from you, by the way!

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  6. Holly says:

    Next time you’re preaching, give me a heads up! I will drive to C’ville for that. 🙂

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  7. Lamar Bollens says:

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