One preacher asked me if he should accept last minute invitations to preach. As an associate minister in a church where other preaching associates received most of the preaching opportunities, this preacher wondered about accepting such invitations.
The preacher must keep in mind a few important considerations before accepting such an invitation (or assignment whatever the case may be). First, can you give a solid sermon by the time you need to preach? The people who come to hear a word from the Lord expect and deserve a well thought out, well constructed, and well delivered word that God has given you to give to them. If you don’t have enough time to do that, then you aught to turn down the invitation. Note that I said, well constructed, though out, and delivered. Don’t just warm over a half concocted presentation and whoop at the end of it. Such sermons are like the offering of Cain, devoid of the transformative fire from heaven.
In addition, if you are not ready, you may actually end up with less invitations as you become known as one who half-steps in the pulpit. Such a reputation can truly be the kiss of death to preachers who do not receive many opportunities to preach.
So how can you be ready for these opportunities that come along? Simply “be ye also ready for ye know not…” When I was younger the older preachers used to tell the younger ones to always have a sermon in your Bible. You never know when you will be called to preach it. Rev. Napoleon Harris, before he accepted his first parish assignment, used to construct a sermon every week even though he had no assignment or place to preach it. Such diligence and hard work will pay off in the end.
Simply put, new preachers and associates will not always have the time that they wish to put together a sermon when the invitation comes, the only way to be ready is to stay ready by constructing sermons that can be preached at any time.