This week I am blessed to spend my week at the E.K. Bailey International Expository Preaching Conference in Dallas, Texas. This week is a preacher’s paradise as we experience two sermons in the morning, two sermons in the evening and workshops in the afternoon. Today is a day of mini-conferences or rest and relaxation depending on your flavor. We are hearing from preachers like Matt Chandler and Bryan Loritts. I am attending workshops that include topics like:
- Preaching through a Book of the Bible
- The Bivocational Pastor
- Preaching Different Genres of Scripture
- Using Illustrations Effectively
Preaching is a calling that must be lived out, a craft that must be developed and a creation that must be submitted to its creator. The theme for this weeks conference is “Preaching that Looks Up: Putting God at the Center of the Sermon” Exodus 34:4-7. This week we have been encouraged to take our eyes off ourselves and even off of our parishioners or congregants and focus them back on God who is the one who called us in the first place. Preaching is not a career that you choose, it is a calling that chooses you.
On November 16, 1995, at the age of 18, in my dorm room at the University of Texas, God called me to preach the gospel. I was afraid because having watched my father as a preacher and pastor, I knew that preaching was not something to be taken lightly. I asked God to confirm the call and he did through a number of people in my life. So I began by preaching my first sermon in December of 1995 and continued teaching the Bible to college students through organizations like Innervisions Gospel Choir, Gamma Phi Delta Christian Sorority and eventually InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Later as a staff pastor at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church, I began preaching to four generations of people and had to change my style from being quick and fast so students wouldn’t fall asleep to being thoughtful and deliberate so that all who listened could follow what God was saying through me. Now as the Lead Pastor of Full Life Community Church, I preach on a weekly basis and am learning some great things about God’s work in my life as a preacher. I look forward to sharing on this blog in the days ahead.