I remember back in bible college when I was traveling and doing services on behalf of the school. I’d come upon some strange situations that quite frankly taught me a lot in my early days of ministry.
One circumstance I faced was showing up at certain churches where the worship leader or team hadn’t prepared whatsoever. It was like they were winging the entire service. It was explained to me that being Pentecostal, some felt that to prepare was to somehow put God in a box.
I quickly learned this was not limited to worship leaders. I came to learn that some preachers also do little to no preparation, believing that as they get in a service in the presence of God He will “fill their mouth” and give them the words to say. In fact, I’ve been told that before by several preachers who say, “I’m operating under the spirit’s power and I don’t need sermon notes, I’ve got the Holy Ghost and when I step up to the pulpit He’ll just tell me what to say.”
What do we do with
2 Timothy 2:15? It says: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Speaking of putting God in a box…does the same God who has the ability to “fill someone’s mouth” spontaneously when they get up in a service not have the same power to fill their mind and their mouth on Tuesday when they are studying in their office? Is our God so small that He only anoints in a service? Obviously in saying they are not limiting God, some by the very nature of waiting only until they are “in the moment” have limited God.
Sometimes saying that we don’t want to limit God is much more about our laziness than it is God’s power.
Although preachers of all backgrounds might be tempted to wait until the last minute or not prepare at all, in my experience Pentecostals have the worst habit of doing this because it’s tempting to blame everything on the Holy Ghost and give ourselves as little responsibility as possible. But that’s not God’s design.
Being a Pentecostal preacher doesn’t mean checking your brain at the door.
Nor does it mean flying by the seat of your pants.
Let’s not use the Holy Ghost as an excuse for poor planning.
Dr. H. Robert Rhoden was our former district superintendent in Maryland, and a spiritual father to my husband and I. He often said, “Holy shoddy is still shoddy.”
If you are called to preach, give due diligence to your call.
Q4U: What do you do to prepare for a message?