I remember standing up at the age of 16, incredibly nervous, excited and wanting to do my best for Jesus. I delivered the message then quickly sat down. That youth service in some ways had all the feelings I still carry. Where were the nerves seated? I discovered that it was in reverence and awe of God, making sure I delivered his message to our church that day. I’m not sure how much I cared about whether the rest of the congregation liked it or not, but I knew I was doing it for Jesus and preaching his word.
A few years later I was in full flow and loved to preach at any given opportunity. But it had become more complicated. I definitely never left out preaching Jesus and his word but I was more conscious of so many other factors. Do people like it? Did they get something out of it? If they don’t say anything to me at the end does that mean they didn’t like it? Was it going to get me another opportunity? Some of these questions are okay, others are not. I knew in my heart I was doing it for Jesus but the fear of man was beginning to reach a similar status as the fear of God.
It seemed to be getting more and more complicated. I realised it was time to strip it all back and keep it simple. I am preaching for an ‘audience of one’. Not an audience of so many seeming demands/criteria/people. I decided my preaching needs to be the following things, any message, anywhere, to anyone.
I must preach…
Whatever message on whatever passage it has to be Jesus centred and give people an opportunity to connect with him.
2. To serve the vision of the ‘house’
Whether the organisation or church I represent and the place I am preaching.
I have to be me. Not an impersonator of another preacher. The person you see on stage is just a bigger version of who you meet off stage.
It is all framed by preaching for Jesus. The nerves are always there. My reliance on Jesus is greater than ever. And the realisation when you preach Jesus, expect not everyone to agree and get on board.
When things become blurred by so many expectations we must remember that it is Jesus who gives us the message and Jesus who we preach for. It was Jesus who said in Matthew 10:27, ‘What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight, what is whispered in your ear, proclaim on the roofs.’
We preach for an audience of one.
Dan Randall, Pais British Isles