By the time this post is published, I would have preached a total of 10 sermons since “Always And Forever” at Revival Service. I had the privilege to speak at two youth camps this month and I am penning this entry before my final session tonight. Frankly speaking, I am exhausted – physically and mentally especially – but I am reinvigorated spiritually, because of the amount that I had learnt through my preparation for these messages.
The weekend before Grace Retreat, I accomplished mission (almost) impossible and preached four freshly written sermons over three days. And in the past 30 hours, I delivered three messages. It was a grueling process (mainly due to the lack of rest and the constant demand to develop my content) and it forced me to change the way I normally delivered my content – by preaching without a full manuscript – and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the change.
My dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide and keep me on track had never been higher and the sense of satisfaction had never been deeper. I felt a lot more natural when I’m not bounded by a manuscript; it gave me freedom, spontaneity of speech and truly allowed the Spirit to determine the words I uttered. This was a new milestone in my journey as a preacher and I thank the Lord for giving me the grace to grow into it. (There’s still a long way to go though…)
I preached “Leadership = Lead Your Sheep”, “Will I Catch A Grenade For Ya?” and “My Neighbour Is A Spy!” (twice) that weekend and I’d like to think I have made progress as a preacher. Shireen Lai once told me (perhaps prophetically), “Get used to this – it’s the life of an itinerant speaker”. I was a little embarrassed by that statement because I (still) feel severely inadequate as a preacher – I know I am a decent communicator, but I still lack (and long for) the connection of Ps Ronald, the relevance of Ps Benny and the profoundness of Ps Edmund; I strive (and sometimes struggle) towards these things as I attempt to grow into this role without any theological education (yet). The most common advice I’m given however, is to find my own style of preaching – something I’m still trying to figure out. It’s a steep learning curve so I thank God for His generous grace.
On a side note, what I also enjoyed about speaking at other youth groups, besides expanding my communication repertoire and gaining exposure and experience, is connecting with youths outside R-AGE. I try to add these new friends on FaceBook as soon as I can so that I am able to remember their names and my brief interaction with them. And at the end of each session, I will share the same sentiments as my Shepherds (who accompanied me to minister at these youth camps) – we are grateful to be a part of R-AGE that is now a part of us.
I also sense my heart for the Church (the body of Christ) being enlarged as I get a feel of the needs in other youth ministries – that is something that is definitely caught, not taught. However, I am just at the beginning of what (I hope) is a long and rewarding pilgrimage of preaching the Word… There’s so much more that I have and need to learn before I can call myself a proper preacher of God’s Word; this realisation keeps me humble in light of the applause that I receive from people; I must always remember to bring both criticism and compliments before the Lord, and to ask Him to help me make sense of it.
Well, it’s a relief for me to know that the next time I preach (in R-AGE, besides a session at another youth group in early July) is at the end of August so I’m going to make full use of this preaching hiatus to sink my roots even deeper into the Word of God. It’s also going to be a time for me to catch up on the Leading and Mentoring pillars of my daily ministry. And up(a)grading my Interceding life is part of what I hope to achieve in the coming months.
In the meantime, I’d like to direct your attention to Huiyi’s insights from “Will I Catch A Grenade For Ya?” Oh, and if I haven’t made it clear enough… I absolutely love preaching the Word of God – what an immense privilege to share His Word with young people! (: For now, I shall take Peter Chao’s advice to “Focus on the preacher [I] will become and not on the preaching [I] will deliver”. What a timely reminder for me to keep growing and developing!
And as always, I covet your prayers. (: