How to Make Your Next Sermon Pressure Free

Are you communicating this weekend?

Maybe preaching at your church? Speaking in a student ministry? Or even training or casting vision to volunteers.

I am, and it got me to thinking…

No matter the environment, the audience, or the type of message, communicating in any spiritual context brings a unique pressure. It’s a pressure that only communicators in the church can fully understand.

When I worked in the marketplace, I communicated quite a bit. I made sales calls, staged product demonstrations, presented data and strategy analysis, and even occasionally spoke to larger audiences about our business, our competencies, and our industry.

None of these moments compare to what happens in ministry, though. There is such a unique weight in any ministry communication. The pressure comes from many places:

God: Let’s just start where everything in us as pastors and teachers should start. It doesn’t take more than a cursory reading of James (among other Biblical books) to feel the weight of our position. And we should feel the weight. If we don’t, we apparently aren’t taking our position as seriously as God does. When we stand in front of people to encourage, admonish, or anything in between, we represent more than just our opinion. That’s pressure.

Others: The people who will hear our words can be quite critical. Not all, but many, are walking into our churches expecting to hear something true, helpful, and biblical, presented in a way that is engaging, inspiring, relational, conversational, and even humorous. I’m not sure that is even possible, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s somewhat expected. That’s pressure.

Ourselves: If we are honest, we might create the biggest pressure-cooker. I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about preaching. What I do know is how much pressure we can feel stepping onto the stage or behind the pulpit. We all work hard on preparation, content, and delivery (if you don’t, you should!). We all have been given quite the opportunity to present hope in and through a relationship with Jesus. That’s pressure.

Bottom line: There’s a lot riding on our shoulders this weekend. Or at least it feels that way. But should it?