For the non-preachers among us.
Unless you are a public speaker, you likely won’t realize how hard it is to be a public speaker. I have watched over a thousand preachers preach. And I’ve preached over a thousand messages. Preaching is not just public speaking, it is delivering a verbal message from God, a message with eternal consequences, and a message for which the preacher will give an account to God. I hope I don’t have to convince you that preaching is a hard thing to do.
On many occasions, I have watched from a distance as a skilled preacher worked his or her craft, thinking how effortless it seemed for them. They were smooth, articulate and seemingly very comfortable in that role. But I’ve seen some of those very same speakers from up close. Close enough to see the stress on their face, to see the passion in their eyes and even frustration in their expressions at how the message was going.
Like watching a professional athlete from your recliner, it’s easy to think that anyone can do what these people are doing.
Leading is hard, but it looks easier from a distance. So, this article is not only about speaking, it is metaphorically addressing support for leaders. Get close enough to your leaders to know if you can truly support them, and if so, get close enough so that they are certain of your support.
Through the years, I have known a few church members that, I am convinced, wanted to be as far away from me as possible – so they sat on the back row. That’s a tough experience for a pastor. I want the best seats I can afford at a baseball game. I don’t want to sit in the back of a concert. Likewise, I want to be as close as possible to God’s messenger.
I encourage people to enter the arena, get front row seats. Sit close enough to hear the gasp when a running back gets the air knocked out of him. Close enough to smell the perspiration of the athletes. Close enough to see the disappointment of losing in the eyes of a defeated player. “Close” is the only way to have the full experience.
This is one reason I’ve always implored church members to sit up front in church services. From a distance, preaching is no big deal, anyone could do the Pastor’s job. But if you are close enough to them sense the weight and responsibility of the sacred moment, you’ll likely:
Be less critical.
Not take them for granted.
Pray more for them.
Take to heart more seriously what they’re saying.
Be warned, depending upon how passionately your pastor preaches, you may want to be prepared to dodge saliva. Lol
But get up close for the ministry of the Word. Sit up as far as you can. Invest yourself in the sermon – you get out what you put it. *Be careful with your body language. Take notes. Let your pastor see the receptivity in your eyes. Let them know you’re in their corner. Limit the distractions of other people. Most of all, be close enough to gain the full appreciation of how powerful and wonderful and challenging preaching the Word of God (and leading in general) really is.