There’s a well-known quote in the marketing and business world from Steve Jobs about the importance of getting your ideas out the door.
Real artists ship.
Jobs isn’t just speaking of people who paint, draw, sculpt, or make music. It’s anyone who has the responsibility for creating anything. Products. Services. Reports. Even sermons.
Real artists don’t delay their creation’s release in an attempt to make it perfect. They put in the work and get it as close as they can, and then release it. The most significant ideas in the world are the ones that have been shipped. Not the ones that are perfect. And that’s because no idea is ever perfect.
This is a difficult but necessary truth for anyone who creates. But pastors probably need to embrace it the most. We more than anyone have the tendency to obsess over every facet of the creative work we ship every Sunday and think it needs to be perfect to be effective. I know this better than anyone. There have been countless times when I’ve finished a sermon and wished I could have worked on it more. Brought it closer to perfection.
But at some point you have to put your ideas out there.
Every sermon you have or will ever preach could be improved. Every illustration could be a little tighter. And you could always have a deeper understanding and grasp of the passage you’re preaching.
But you have to understand that when it comes time to ship your sermon what matters is not the perfection of your main point. Or your illustrations. Or your introduction or conclusion.
It’s the perfection of God’s promise that His Word will never return void.
I’m not saying you don’t need to put in hard work ahead of time. Real artists work. And then ship. But there does come a point when you have to realize that God has never depended on your perfect preaching to save lives any more than He has your perfect obedience to save yourself. And He never will.
The Word is perfect. The Gospel is perfect. Your plan and ability to present it are not.
But we have faith that God can more than make up the difference. The same God who used a stuttering shepherd as His mouthpiece before the most powerful man in the world can use us as well. The same God who took twelve ordinary men with no background in public speaking and used them to begin a movement that changed the world can use us, too.
Pastors, Sunday is just a few days away. Take some more time and prepare.
Master the text. Strengthen your presentation. Pray for anointing.
Your sermon isn’t going to be perfect. But God doesn’t need it to be to use it.
So when Sunday comes, don’t hesitate. Ship your sermon.