Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hacksaws and Sermon Preparation

On Sunday morning I cut open twelve tennis balls with a hacksaw. I had to stop at Walmart on the way to the church building to purchase said tennis balls. I had to travel back and forth to my father-in-law's home to retrieve the wallet I left on the kitchen table to purchase said tennis balls. In total, I dedicated forty-five minutes to preparing a craft for my wife's Sunday School class instead of preparing for the sermon. (My offer.)

This is a typical Sunday morning for a disorganized pastor of a small church. If there was such thing as a perfect routine to prepare for preaching, I don't have one. The content is finished by Thursday night; its execution on Sunday morning is a blur.

Sometimes I drive through McDonald's for coffee. Other times I stop at Walmart for donuts, craft supplies or object lessons. When I arrive to the church I turn on some lamps in my office, brew a pot of coffee (if I've not gone to McD's), print my notes, visit the bathroom several times, declutter the common areas, upload the PowerPoint, send reminders via text, and rush to distribute Sunday School lessons and a flow of worship before the sound guys and worship band arrives. 

I always intend to quiet my heart and pray more than I do. I always expect to reserve time for one more read-through of the passage. I always plan on meditating on my major points longer than I do. I always hope to be focused, orderly, and stationed with a grin on my face at the front door to greet the first volunteer who walks in. But more often than not, my face is locked into the computer, hammering out last minute notes, or else I'm blazing through the hallways on a mission to locate my misplaced Bible.

I suppose I could make better use of my time on Thursdays to insure all the details for Sunday morning are in place. Perhaps I wouldn't feel so hectic. Perhaps it would result in greater clarity during my messages. Perhaps I could create a more welcoming environment if I weren't crouched on the floor wielding a hacksaw as people walked in.

Then again, there is something respectable about a pastor who prepares with hacksaw. He keeps you guessing. Predictability is overrated.

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