Kevin DeYoung posted a tongue in cheek outline of What Sermon Prep Really Looks Like. Kevin paints a very believable picture of a man drawn in dozens of different directions but always with “the sermon” looming over him. He is trying to be funny, and it sort of is, but it really just shows the endless cycle of preparation, delivery and frustration repeated week after week by countless clergy.
What we see is a glimpse into the performance driven world of “preaching”. I get exactly what Kevin is talking about. I often finished my sermons late on Saturday night, was drained after I finished and almost always assumed that the sermon I just “preached” sucked after I was done. You want so badly to have the sermon be a home run and it almost never is. This pattern was repeated week after week. The entire weight of every weekly meeting is placed on the shoulders of one man and invariably they fail week after week because the task is impossible. Then we get surveys that show pastors are frustrated, burned out and quitting at an alarming pace and wonder what is wrong? Maybe they just need a Sabbatical? Or maybe the system they are in is what causes the burnout and failure?
God never intended for the gathering of the church to be a performance driven where it is seen as “succeeding” or “failing” based on how great the sermon was. A meeting where only one guy does all of the speaking is bound to leave the rest of the people disappointed and the pastor frustrated. There is a better way.