Summary: What should a Pastor do when he has failed to preach a great sermon? Many Pastors feel guilty, depressed, or discouraged. Some men will even seek a transfer to another church. One man said, ``I have grown to dread preaching, I try to get my elders to prea
HOW TO DEAL WITH FAILURE IN PREACHING
What should a Pastor do when he has failed to preach a great sermon? Many Pastors feel guilty, depressed, or discouraged. Some men will even seek a transfer to another church. One man said, ``I have grown to dread preaching, I try to get my elders to preach whenever possible!’’ Let us look closely at this problem of dealing with failure in ministry.
Ray Cripps in Guideposts magazine points out a true story of the depression of the writer of the Phillips version of the New Testament, J.B. Phillips. It seems that in Phillips home in Swanage, England, he described a dark period in his life by writing,
``Satan was mounting his most devastating attack on me. He was building an image of J.B. Phillips that was not Jack Phillips at all. I was no longer an ordinary human being; I was in danger of becoming the super Christian! Everything I wrote or said had to better than the last. The image grew and grew until it was so unlike me that I could no longer live with it. And yet the thought of destroying it was terrifying too. It was on this dilemma that I hung.’’
Phillips was close to committing suicide. He felt that unless he could not live up to these false expectations of himself, he should kill himself. Many Pastors are believing a lie about what God wants them to be. Paul said, In Romans 12:3, ``For by the grace given to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.’’ (Leadership, Spring, 90)
Paul meant that each person should know his limitations as well as his strengths through God’s eyes not the worlds’. We need to understand that God accepts us not because of our works, but because of the grace of Christ through faith. Paul emphasizes that each of us have different gifts. It is unfair to compare ourselves with others who possess different gifts. Let us learn to appreciate our unique worth, calling, and processes that the potter is taking to shape the clay into His likeness.
Here are a few suggestions that will help Pastors from getting discouraged after a poor sermon:
1. Thank God for being able to learn from failures, criticisms, & difficult experiences. Losing a battle does not mean losing the whole war.
2. Remember not to base our self-image on the success of our ministry i.e. sermons, converts, or praises.
3. Do not dread preaching the next time, but learn to enjoy the process of preaching.
4. Note that no one sermon is a life and death matter. One message should not make or break a Pastor. Learn from your difficulties.
5. Do not expect your people to be congratulating you for every sermon. You are serving the Lord and not men in an ultimate sense. (Col.3:23)
6. Do not expect to be a performer like a stage actor. You are a steward called by God to deliver the food from the kitchen (The Bible) to the table (The Church Pews) where the people can eat and be nourished. (Matt. 4:4)
7. Do not think of your preaching as an opportunity to impress others. God told Baruch in Jer. 45:5, ``Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord.’’