Monday night, I received an email from a young minister who is discouraged. He’s just starting out in ministry, and says his preaching is terrible. He’s trying to improve, but is just starting out, and is mediocre. I addressed this here a while back, but I decided to reiterate this point because I hear from a lot of young ministers who are similarly worried. Here’s what I think.

Your first few sermons are always terrible, no matter who you are.

If you think your first few sermons are great, you’re probably self-deceived. If the folks in your home church think your first few sermons are great, it’s probably because they love you and they’re proud of you. If it’s a good, supportive church there’s as much objectivity there as a grandparent evaluating the “I Love You Grandma” artwork handed to them by the five year-old in their family.

So your first set of sermons, unless you’re very atypical, are probably really, really bad.

So what?

The great thing about Christian ministry is that Jesus doesn’t start all over again with his church every generation. He gives older men in ministry who shape, disciple, and direct younger men in ministry. This includes (although it’s not limited to) critiquing your sermons.

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