I am so incredibly nervous and wound up about tomorrow. I've been trying to channel my anxiety through preparation, but there comes a time when there's not much more that I can do. Or rather, if I prepared any more it might just make things worse.
Part of me wanted to preach this sermon without notes, but I don't know if that will happen. It depends upon how nervous I am. I am a believer in preaching without notes, and feel that it is more effective than a manuscript. However, it's not very effective if you're stumbling through the sermon.
Why am I so nervous about something that I have done many times before? I did this every Sunday for almost two years. You'd think this was my first preaching engagement, ever!
Here are my thoughts:
-I haven't preached or led worship in 18 months. I'm sort of out of practice.
-I have NEVER preached or led worship in this setting...in this congregation. I've been attending the church for over a year, but there's a big difference between warming a pew and being up front.
-I was originally supposed to just preach at 11:00, but the person who was supposed to preach at the 8:15 service had a family emergency and had to go out of town. So, I'm preaching at both services. I've never even BEEN to the 8:15 service. I think the unknown is freaking me out.
-I've never preached in front of more than 60 people. The 8:15 service has approximately twice that attendance, and the 11:00 service has about 200 regular attenders. Yes, yes, audience of one, and all that...but it's still scary.
-I think that I'm way too focused on what others will think/how people will respond to me, to my leadership, to the sermon. I'm hoping some time in prayer will ease those thoughts.
-My last few preaching experiences weren't that great...in the sense that I didn't feel that I really did a great job. That affects my confidence.
-I'm pleased with this sermon...but not absolutely PASSIONATE about it. Maybe that will change once I get into the pulpit.
In other news, I had my meeting with my District Superintendent on Thursday. It went decently. We basically both decided that I need another year of leave before being totally ready to go back under appointment. My plan is to corral my pastor as soon as he returns from vacation, throw myself at his feet, and beg for ministry opportunities. I think it will work, because I am, after all, FREE. Who wouldn't want the services of a credentialed minister for FREE? Right? I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't move this year, but am sensing that's a strong possibility. If he does move, that means that I'll have to establish a new relationship with the new pastor (not that my current pastor and I are BFFs or anything, but I certainly like him), and hope that he/she is receptive.
This didn't help as much as I thought it would. I'm going to go pray. And read the Bible. And pray again.
Can you please pray, too? Mostly for peace, and confidence, and that the Holy Spirit will speak through me.