Thursday, April 05, 2007

Preaching Somewhere Else

Sometime last year or early this year, I was contacted by someone from Ohio Northern University, where my friend Jason is local bishop. Or student. I forget which. Anyway, Jason is one of the religion majors on the chapel staff, and he gave them my name as a potential speaker.

Anyway, they asked if I would speak on April 4th. When I accepted, I didn't really think about it being Holy Week. I didn't think about how busy I would be right now. Because I wanted the chance to speak on campus. My college experience had a huge impact on my spiritual life - my parents raised me right, but college was the time when I made it all my own. It was also when I really began experiencing God call into ministry.

So yesterday I drove up to Ada and found my way to the chapel (there was even a designated parking spot for me - with my name on it and everything. I don't know that I've ever felt so important in my life!). The band was rehearsing and I wished I was still in a worship band. I miss those days. That was one of the bright spots at my previous church. That and some of the cool people (like Jason).

Anyway, I thought I had a pretty good sermon written, but the delivery could have been a lot better. I attribute that to the fact that I've been writing many, many sermons, and I've sort of been doing them assembly-line style. I finish one and I start another. Usually I have the advantage of being able to finish one and polish it and deliver it before I start the next one, but not this time of year. The other problem was that I ran into the buzzsaw of a deadline. No, I'm not talking about the fact that I had to get it done; that was no problem. It was the fact that my sermon was too long for the chapel service. So I had to (on the fly) decide what parts needed to remain and what parts could be cut. I just hope that I got the point across. Or, rather, that God got the point across.

The students who were there were very friendly and nobody told me that my sermon was terrible. In fact, a couple of people mentioned things that they'd heard me saying (as points of conversation later, including over lunch).

I was glad to get the chance to speak there - like I said, I love being on college campus, and I liked preaching in their chapel. It's a nice, modern (contemporary) setting with a warm atmosphere and great students.

PS. If you click on the "chapel" picture, that will get you to the ONU chapel home page. If you click on the "Preaching Somewhere Else" title, that will take you directly to the 4/4/07 chapel page which includes the audio of my sermon. If you want to hear one of my sermons that's a little more, um, well-spoken, you have to come to the NKUMC and hear it directly.


Judy Callarman said...

I love reading your stories, because you seem genuine. And you don't mind letting your human frailties peek out. Often, pastors can't let themselves do that. I know there are high expectations of pastors--very unreasonable ones included.

Big Mama said...

I think you are too hard on yourself!!!!