Confidence in preaching is how we work toward excellence. Here are five reasons why confidence is an important tool to have in your belt.
Confidence is about knowing God has called you to deliver the message.
If you have no confidence to preach, perhaps you should look at your calling to preach. While I believe anyone can be given a word from God to proclaim, we each have gifts, and not everyone has the gift of proclamation. That said, not everyone has the gift of generosity, but we are all called to give. You may not be called to full-time ministry, but we are all ministers by our baptism and we all have a message to share–our own faith story.
Confidence comes from knowing that God has given a word to you that only you can speak. It is part of your story, your journey, and it is what someone needs to hear as they work through their own faith story. Don’t let your fear of being embarrassed keep you from sharing a message from God. Embarrassment is lessened when you feel prepared.
Confidence, not to be confused with arrogance or pride, comes from preparation—knowing we have done the hard work.
Like anything else, you have to prepare to preach. This preparation helps reduce nervousness and assures that you have not taken the message lightly. As you prepare, you are not only sharing your insight, but you are gaining new insight into the mystery of God. But preparation is hard work.
As we study preaching, scripture, theology and ecclesiology (the church), and work on developing excellence in the craft of preaching, we gain assurance. Working toward excellence in preaching, we begin to trust our preaching instincts, and develop confidence.
Confidence encourages the audience to trust the message and the one delivering it.
Preachers should be trustworthy, and most of us are. But there are those who are not trustworthy and they make the headlines–or rumor mills. People are starting to look on the preaching profession with suspicion, and it is up to us to overcome this suspicion and develop trust with those who would hear us.
Confidence that we are where we are supposed to be, saying what God has given us to say, enables us to approach the pulpit with boldness. When we are confident in our message, our congregation will trust that message. If we are uncertain, then there will be suspicion, even if unintended.
Confidence gives us added energy for the task of sermon preparation and delivery.
When you pour your heart into a sermon, it can be exhausting. When you can stand up with confidence, it is like you can feel the power of the Holy Spirit pour through you. This confidence of knowing that you prepared well, that the sermon is inspired, and that this is a message God has called only you to give, gives you energy in the preaching task.
As said earlier, confidence isn’t the same as ego. When our egos get in the way, we start worrying about what we are doing wrong, or we worry that the sermon isn’t well received. These worries are more about us, than trusting in God to inspire people through the word given to you. When we worry, our energy is taxed. When our confidence is in the One who gave us the message, our energy is restored.
We learn more about the preaching task to develop our confidence in the work that we do. As we hone our skill in preaching, we will trust ourselves more, and second guess ourselves less. Confidence is important, and you can gain confidence through studying preaching, such as with EQUIPOnline.