If you consistently experience nerves or fear before preaching, here is a helpful reminder.
Do you have a fear of preaching? Or maybe you wouldn’t say it’s a fear, but your nerves are on edge. You are not alone.
Public speaking is commonly listed as one of the greatest fears that people have.
All eyes are on you.
You are vulnerable.
You are exposed.
Your every word is critiqued.
Or worse, you could be ignored.
What if they laugh at you?
What if they don’t like you?
What if they think you are boring?
What if you don’t look good?
It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a crowd and bare your soul.
I almost didn’t become a pastor because of my fear of preaching. I begged God to let me do anything but preach. God said, “No.”
Nerves when preaching can be expected. Everyone experiences it. But when you are too nervous all the time, your problem isn’t nerves.
Your problem is that you are too self-centered.
You are too focused on what others think of you.
You are too focused on how you will look.
You are too focused on your message.
You are too worried that people either will or won’t come back because of you.
You are too focused on whether or not people will think you are interesting, smart, good-looking or entertaining.
Do you see the problem? Preaching has become all about you.
So if you’re like me and you struggle with this, what should you do?
Take the focus off of yourself. If your ministry is all about you, you have a bigger problem than being nervous about preaching.
It is time to flip your perspective. Don’t think about yourself. Think about God.
What does God want to say? Will God be honored? Will God be glorified? Will God be pleased?
It’s no longer your sermon. Preaching was never supposed to be about you anyway. Give the sermon back to God.
Then, think about the audience God entrusted to you to hear his message.
What does the audience need to hear? How could they benefit from God’s message? How might they be encouraged? How could God’s Word change their lives? What do they need to be reminded of?
Preaching is not about you. Preaching is about God’s message communicated to his people. You are just the messenger.
When preaching becomes all about God and people, and not about you, you’ll worry less and preach better.
As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Your nerves and your fear of preaching will diminish as you focus less on yourself and more on Jesus.
Give the sermon back to God. It was never yours to begin with.
Just watch and see what God does when you stop thinking so much about yourself.
This article originally appeared on ProPreacher.com.