After reading the book Linchpin by Seth Godin – I came home with one very important lesson – REAL ARTISTS SHIP.
As a pastor of a church – we ship every week. The product that we ship is our homily. For some it seems like that is not considered an art but wait till you try to make homilies week in and week out. The challenge to present a compelling message in a relevant way is something your priests, pastors and ministers face every week. It is not an easy job but we have no choice but to SHIP IT.
I have learned after pasturing a church for 3 years that there are some homilies that are not perfect. I have had homilies that suck big time. I would have wanted to perfect it but I can’t because we are always faced with a shipping deadline – mine being Sundays 3pm.
So how does the process of shipping happens in a homily. The usual routine is to start crafting the homily as early as Tuesday since Monday is a Sabbath day for the minister. We google our text, read commentaries, wrestle with the Scripture that would be discussed during the week. We then try to spice it up with illustrations, stories or real life experiences to drive home the main idea every week. It would usually take 24 hours to draft and refine a homily every week.
Trap of Perfection
The temptation we preachers face is trying to put our homily to perfection. And why do I say temptation? Because there is always that nagging thought in the mind of the preacher whether the people would understand, could the people really take this gospel to their respective home and workplace. We try to make it perfect and the bad news is we will never make it really perfect.
And it is the essence of the gospel. We, as humans, can never reach the highest level of God’s standard that we need a Savior in Christ to save us, redeem us and give us a new life. When we have that proper perspective we are more courageous to ship it even if it needs more work.
I love how a fellow pastor, Steven Furtick, said it. “But you have to understand that when it comes time to ship your sermon what matters is not the perfection of your main point. Or your illustrations. Or your introduction or conclusion. It’s the perfection of God’s promise that His Word will never return void.”
The gospel is powerful on its own. We are limited but it gives us no reason not to ship our message every week. If God can use a donkey in the Bible to preach the message – He can certainly use an imperfect person like me to spread HIS ideas and HIS truth.
Work hard, love the Bible and ship it!