Wednesday, April 16, 2014


A few days ago someone asked me, "How many sermons have you preaching in 30-plus years of ministry?"  Wow, I'd never really considered it.  But I did do some quick mental calculations (and conservative at that) and I dredged up the following estimate:  2,000.

Now, this number does not represent individually-prepared sermons alone, but the actual number of times I have spoken in front of a group on weekends (and would include multiple presentations, such as now, when I preach 3X each week).  But . . . if I also include the number of times I've prepared other messages (funerals, weddings, revivals, workshops, etc.) then I'm going to easily ramp that number up past 2,500 . . . and counting.

2,500 speaking engagements.  This is not in the same caliber as John Wesley or Francis Asbury, but it's not chicken feed either.  No wonder I now lose my voice sometimes.  My vocal chords are tired.

And when I factor in all of the sermons I've preached to my wife over the years . . . .

Well, you get my drift.  

But here's another wonder . . . I don't have any manuscripts of my sermons.  I don't write sermons.  I was taught in seminary (by a wonderful homiletics prof named Richard Lischer) never to depend upon a sermon manuscript.  Rather, I was told, preach from an outline . . . and when you can dispense with the outline, do so.  I've tried to speak in this manner for thirty years (I'm sure, with varying degrees of success). 

When people ask, "Can I have a copy of your sermon" . . . I always have to admit, "I don't have a copy.  You heard the sermon.  A written copy does not exist."

Looking at my schedule for the remainder of 2014, I note that I am scheduled to speak at least 75 more times on weekends and at least another 25 times in other settings.  If I continue to add 150 speaking engagements a year to that total . . .

Well, I don't want to think about it.  Hearing myself talk just makes me tired.  I don't have the words to express it.

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