Now you are actively involved in your church. You’re sincerely living the Christian life. You’re getting acquainted with Southern Baptists and great preaching.
But how do I get opportunities to preach?
1. Ask your pastor if he has any opportunities where you could have a chance to preach. Let him know you would like to begin preaching. Tell him you would love to bring a short devotional to the youth, or other church classes. If there are time limits, honor them. As one of my professors said, “Men, there is no such thing as a bad short sermon.” Better to leave them wanting more, than leave them wanting less.
2. See if there are opportunities to preach or bring a devotion in a Nursing or Rehab Home. Mrs. Osea Voelkle led church services in an Assisted Living Home when I was a teenager. This was before I had my driver's license. She asked, and was delighted that I was willing to go with them and preach a sermon. I learned much through those experiences. Do the same at Youth Camps, etc.
3. After your pastor has had a chance to hear you preach a time or two, ask him if he would be willing to contact neighboring pastors and let them know you are available to Supply Preach. Supply preaching is filling in for a pastor when he is sick or on vacation. Many pastors would love to have someone like you to call on at the last minute. If your pastor is willing to write a letter recommending you, offer to do the work of addressing letters and paying the postage to mail them. Send a copy to your local, and neighboring Baptist Association offices as well.
If you have preached in other churches, you might want to include the names and numbers of other pastors who would also recommend you. Ask your pastor for his advise along these lines.
4. If possible attend your local Baptist Association meeting (usually monthly or quarterly) with your pastor. Hopefully your pastor or Director of Missions would be willing to introduce you and let the others know of your availability to preach. Have a card or flyer to give to interested pastors. Attend these meetings every chance you have.
5. Attend all types of Baptist meetings. State conventions, evangelism conferences, the annual Southern Baptist Convention. Get to know the preachers. Make yourself available. Prayer should be a large part of all this. But remember that pastors call on people they know. Make sure they know you.
6. Ask if someone will recommend you to fill the pulpit for an area pastorless church. You may not be ready to pastor, but often they are looking for someone to just supply preach a Sunday or two until they get an interim or permanent pastor.
7. Never turn down an opportunity to preach, without good reason. If you have a good reason, explain it to them and let them know you would love to preach for them in the future. I once asked a preacher to supply for me. He declined and never gave any reason for doing so. I assumed he was not interested and never called on him again.
8. No church should be too big or too small. Count it an honor to go to any church to preach the Word of God. Never cancel out one preaching appointment to go to a bigger church to preach. Once you make a commitment to preach, keep it.
If you are asked to preach at a small church, count it a great honor and treat it like you’ve been asked to preach at Bellevue Baptist Church, Tennessee. I have always admired preachers that were just as honored and gracious to preach in a small church as a large church.
9. You may be able to send a short note to your state Baptist paper:
Benajah H. Carroll has been called to preach. He is a member of Sandy Creek Baptist Church, Big Spring and his available to supply preach. Benajah can be reached at 281/BR-549.
Check such news notes in your state paper and see how you might use them. For example, an interim may send in a note saying he has just completed and interim at a certain church, and is now available for supply preaching and interims. Always include complete contact information.
I you are scheduled to preach a revival, always send it in early enough so your paper can publish it. This gives publicity to the church and revival, and to you as a preacher.
10. Don’t worry about getting paid; that will work out later. Some places will not pay you at all, some will pay you very little, some very well, some not at all. Some will mail you a check. Right now just jump at every opportunity to preach and count it a bonus if they give you a check.
(By the way, if you are a pastor, see that the supply preacher is paid as well as your church is able to pay him; and see that he gets the check before the leaves your church.)
As more pastors get to know you, assuming you can preach, they will recommend you to others.
When you preach, realize you are there to help, not hurt the church. Be respectful of them. Preach the Word of God with conviction and power, but don’t be obnoxious. Don’t be arrogant and condescending to the people. Be gracious and friendly. If it were not for them, you would not have a place to preach in the first place. Preach in such a way they will want to hear you again.
Note: If you are a newly called preacher of the Gospel, write me a note and send me your mailing address. Write me at P.O. Box 300, Lake Jackson, TX 77566.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 30, AD 2011.
Young Preachers - Finding a Place to Preach; Part 1
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