What do you do when you have a desire to preach, but cannot seem to find an opportunity? What do you do while you are stuck waiting in the wings for your shot?
Maybe your senior pastor preaches almost every Sunday and brings in guest preachers when he doesn’t, the youth pastor you volunteer with never gives up control of his platform, or you are in Bible college or seminary just waiting for your chance. What do you do?
Here are a few ideas:
- Pray. Seek God first. Ask Him for the right opportunity to come along.
- Accept every opportunity you can get. Don’t say no to any potential speaking opportunities, no matter how small. Whether its at a retirement home, a school club, or a kids vacation bible school, you are in no position to be picky. Take whatever you can get.
- Tell somebody. Talk to the pastor about your desire to preach. Have you told anyone about this calling you feel to preach? Put it out there and see what happens.
- Look for opportunities and volunteer to help. You might be surprised how many people would be willing to give you a shot if they knew you wanted it. Contact some people and let them know you would be willing if they ever needed help.
- Be patient. Many pastors will not just hand the heavy responsibility of preaching to just anyone. You have to earn trust and prove yourself first. Put in the time.
- Get a degree. Do you have any education in ministry? Maybe you need to finish Bible college first, or get that seminary degree you have thought about. Although you don’t necessarily need a diploma to preach, having the education doesn’t hurt. The truth is, many opportunities will simply not open themselves to someone without a degree.
- Join a local Toastmasters group or take a public speaking class. Practice, get feedback, and practice some more.
- Read good books on preaching.
- Listen to as much good preaching as you possibly can. Get on iTunes and subscribe to some good church podcasts right now. Surround yourself with good preaching and you will be surprised how much rubs off on you.
- Lead a small group. I know this isn’t preaching, but you will get tremendous value from leading discussion and listening to the stories of other people. The best preachers have a heart for the individual person first, not just the crowd.
- Write. Good writing has a lot to do with good preaching. Just make sure to write like you talk, not like a doctoral thesis. Maybe you should consider starting a blog. Get a head start and write some sermons just in case you ever get a chance to use them.
- Record yourself preaching to an empty room. Pretend it is a packed house. Then send influential people a copy of the video. I did this to get my first job. I had only preached twice before and most job postings wanted a video of my preaching. So I made one that looked like the room was full, but it was just me with my wife holding the camera. Yes it was awkward, but I got the job!
- Read the Bible. You cannot teach the Word if you don’t know the Word. I have been in the habit of reading through the entire Bible every year for years now and it has helped tremendously. Go grab a YouVersion reading plan and get started today.
Whatever you do, don’t get bitter. It is easy to get frustrated and upset when you feel like you deserve a shot and nobody is willing to give it to you. Take the high road. Don’t bad-mouth anybody. Like the good servants in the Parable of the Talents, take what you have been given and do your absolute best with it.
Don’t get discouraged. If God has called you to preach, He will give you the opportunity when the time is ready. Just do what you can do to be as ready as you possibly can when that time comes.