Monday, May 13, 2013

Preaching Aftermath

A pastor in Sabah preached a couple of months ago that he would sleep for 2 full days to recover from preaching one sermon. My colleague just preached in Chapel that she would take 2 weeks to recover from all her exertions preparing for one sermon. I am always amazed by preachers of old who could preach almost everyday and sometime several times a day for many years. I read that Francis Asbury, the first Methodist Bishop in America preached a total of 16,000 sermons over a period of 40 years, an average of 400 sermons a year. My most intense preaching was the time when I served as Treasurer-General of SIB where I preached 300 sermons in 3 years in 70 villages and towns, an average of 100 sermons a year. A sermon would last anything between 50 to 60 minutes. I was in my early 30s then. Now most churches in Singapore require that I preach for 25 minutes and certainly not more than 30 minutes which works out well for me as I am not getting younger.

In my late 40s now, I take a day or two to recover from preaching on Sunday. I preached for about 25 minutes yesterday but because it was interpreted the sermon took about 45 minutes in all. I shortened my sermon and skipped my prepared script as I sensed the congregation tiring. Again, it was partly due to the preaching slot at the end of the service, almost an hour after the service started before I went up to preach. I have always said and say it again that the best time to preach is 30 minutes after the service starts and certainly not after 45 minutes into the service.

Today is the aftermath of preaching and tiredness begins to set in. I trust by tomorrow my energy will be replenished because I have a long week ahead, starting with Greek 2 exams which I have to grade immediately for the award of the John Brown prize for the top Greek student at the Closing Communion Service on Friday.

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