blackwomanOne preacher asked me if he should accept last minute invitations to preach. As an associate minister in a church where other preaching associates received most of the preaching opportunities, this preacher wondered about accepting such invitations.

The preacher must keep in mind a few important considerations before accepting such an invitation (or assignment whatever the case may be). First, can you give a solid sermon by the time you need to preach? The people who come to hear a word from the Lord expect and deserve a well thought out, well constructed, and well delivered word that God has given you to give to them. If you don’t have enough time to do that, then you aught to turn down the invitation. Note that I said, well constructed, though out, and delivered. Don’t just warm over a half concocted presentation and whoop at the end of it. Such sermons are like the offering of Cain, devoid of the transformative fire from heaven.

In addition, if you are not ready, you may actually end up with less invitations as you become known as one who half-steps in the pulpit. Such a reputation can truly be the kiss of death to preachers who do not receive many opportunities to preach.

So how can you be ready for these opportunities that come along? Simply “be ye also ready for ye know not…” When I was younger the older preachers used to tell the younger ones to always have a sermon in your Bible. You never know when you will be called to preach it. Rev. Napoleon Harris, before he accepted his first parish assignment, used to construct a sermon every week even though he had no assignment or place to preach it. Such diligence and hard work will pay off in the end.

Simply put, new preachers and associates will not always have the time that they wish to put together a sermon when the invitation comes, the only way to be ready is to stay ready by constructing sermons that can be preached at any time.

5 thoughts on “The Importance of Staying Ready

  1. Spencer L. Miller says:

    I was advised by a seasoned preacher to write down some sermon notes in your Bible. Some Bibles have 5 or 6 blank pages in the back, he suggested using one or two of your favorites passages in the Bible. One that you are very familiar with, for example “The Prodigal Son” which happens to be one of mine. I have a title, three good points, as well as sub-points. I am able to preach from memory, and if I am asked to preach at the last minute I carry valuable sermon notes (or reminders) within my own Bible. I am mindful that prayer before preaching any sermon is of great importance.

  2. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    Pastor Miller,

    I thank you for that suggestion. Writing the sermon IN your bible is probably better than carrying notes in your Bible. You will always be ready for that moment when God calls you to preach…

    Thanks for the suggestion

  3. In my case, I have ready manuscripts of my previous sermons. Then when invited in the last minute, I would browse the subjects I would like to preach, then revise it to the perceived needs through the information as provided by the person inviting. It would be easier to revise a sermon manuscript in a short notice, than prepare for a new one. However, if there’s still time to make a new one, why not.

  4. Vernetia Miller says:

    I have notebooks that, over the years, I have written topics, thoughts and questions, et cetera. Later on I go back and develop some of them into stories or sermons. I like Rev. Napoleon Harris’ idea of preparing a sermon weekly, and also Spencer Miller’s idea of writing points and subpoints to favorite passages in the back of the bible. I revised a previously delivered sermon once. Perhaps a combination of Roger Abuloc’s suggestion and Mr. Miller’s would be a good idea: prepare a file of favorite and topical scripture passages with points and illustrations that can be utilized for short notice perusal.

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