I’ve had the privilege to teach in different capacities at my local church, both in Breakpoint (teens) and Trek (7-8th grade). This experience has taught (and is teaching me) many different things!
I think when us young guys are asked to speak (if we haven’t done it much) we have a burden on our heart, and we think in the back of our head (rather pridefully), “wow, this is going to be great!”. And then we start studying and realize that teaching and speaking takes work.
Whenever i listen to Matt Chandler, Tim Keller, John Piper, or any other great speaker, I admire their work. I admire how well they speak and how God uses their messages. Their gift comes so naturally.
But The Holy Spirit reminded me that comparison will only hinder me from being used effectively. When I think of a great sermon by Tim Keller i think of a biblical, thought-provoking message with a beautiful tie-in to the gospel that brings everything home at the end.
In comparison, my novice experience has led me to be nervous for the first two minutes, confidently inexperienced for the middle, and then roughly tying the gospel in at the end.
But as one of my pastors has reminded me: Don’t be Keller, Piper, or anyone else. Be Nolan. Preach how God’s leading Nolan today. That’s a great reminder for me. Comparison is a great thief of joy, and a joyless message is easily spotted from afar.
So now God’s just teaching me to be me when i speak. Stop comparing. Be faithful to the text, preach from the heart, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.