For the last couple of days I’ve been pondering issues of procrastination and preparation. But it is also important to consider anticipation.
Anticipating Future Preaching
The whole issue of preparation cycles is important. Robinson taught us that a five-day cycle was not long enough and he was right. This is only exacerbated by delays as you can end up with a message on Saturday night that has one night and one breakfast time to be embedded in your life as a preacher. That is hardly long enough to scratch the surface of personalizing experience of the message or forming any sort of conviction. You may know the material, but only in the head. A longer cycle allows for the Bible passage to do some work in you and on you, the preacher. But it could be argued that even a 10-day cycle is not really long enough if the goal is to let the message become part of your own life and experience.
This is why it is helpful to anticipate preaching for weeks or even months.
Obviously you can’t be preparing months worth of sermons in any detail at all. However, knowing that a series is coming ahead of time does allow for an initial reading, some initial prayerful pondering, etc. I am considering preaching through Colossians later in the year. Awareness of that series, even without any sort of extensive study, can influence my life and thinking now. By the time the series comes, there should be some deeper rootedness in my heart and life.
Anticipating Future Interruption
Any talk of schedules and delays must also lead us to ponder the possibility of future interruption. Could there be a pastoral crisis, family illness, broken kitchen appliance, car trouble, unexpected guest or excessive administration between now and the sermon. I suspect there might be. That is why we need to build in margin to the schedule, rather than cramming things into every corner and relying on a smooth run through the week. This isn’t easy for most of us, especially when it means saying no to ministry invitations, but there is no other way to avoid seasons of overwhelming stress than to say no to things before the crisis emerges.
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://christmycovenant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Peter-Mead.png[/author_image] [author_info]Dr Peter Mead is a Bible teacher and ministry trainer, based in southern England. His main ministry is as co-director and mentor of Cor Deo, a full-time mentored study and ministry training program. Peter leads the Advanced Bible Teachers Network at the European Leadership Forum. He holds degrees from Multnomah Biblical Seminary (MDiv/MA), and the Doctor of Ministry degree in homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where Dr Haddon Robinson was his mentor. For more information on Cor Deo, including the weekly theological blog, please visit www.cordeo.org.uk. Peter also authors the BiblicalPreaching.net website for preachers.[/author_info] [/author] [button link=”http://www.biblicalpreaching.net” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Biblical Preaching[/button] [button link=”http://www.cordeo.org.uk/” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Cor Deo[/button]