The following post is written by Mary Naegeli who has been ordained for 22 years and is a minister-member of the San Francisco Presbytery. She is currently taking an academic break from weekly preaching to teach courses in Christian formation and discipleship, preaching, and missional leadership at various campuses of Fuller Seminary. She is also working on her Doctor of Ministry degree and hopes to be finished in late 2010.
Many years ago, our pastor was asked, “Why do you spend 20 hours per week preparing your sermon, when you should be relying on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning to preach God’s Word?” The implication was that exerting the effort to research, study, and write during the week somehow hindered the work of the Spirit while in the pulpit. Our pastor replied with remarkable patience and good will, “Well, the way I see it, by giving 20 hours each week to sermon preparation, I am actually exposing myself to 20 hours of the Spirit’s inspiration rather than just 20 minutes.”