Napoleon Harris – My First Preaching Experience and Suggstions for new Preachers

My first experience was “all good.” HA HA…yeah right I was as nervous as hell on judgment day! I fasted the week of the sermon by eating only fruits and vegetables until the day before which I ate nothing. I was sooooo focused on delivering that message John 10 the Good Shepherd. I had no title, I still 4 years later and with a MDiv in sight don’t title most sermons!

Praying for the Moment

Anyway, I was lead into a room all by myself and when it was time my dad came and got me. I was in the room going over my piece and praying. Then I just prayed and stretched out on the floor thanking God for calling me and just elated that He’d not quit on me while I was running and just elated that He’d use ME!

So when my pop knocked I wiped my face off dusted my suit off jumped up grabbed my sword and sermon and marched behind him to the pulpit. 2nd Met was PACKED full and I wasn’t scared….. Psyche!

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

But as I walked through the sanctuary, God calmed me. He said “you were born to do this” and a calm came over me. I know now, there are many things I’ve done and still do, but I was born to be in a pulpit. It’s the only thing I do 1/2 way right! No lie. So I took comfort and preached.

I wasn’t gonna try no whoop or nothing, but as I finished God glued me to that spot and said I ain’t through and neither are you, and I made the choice to step out on faith and I raised my voice for a lil bit. It was soooo unscripted, but still on task, (I’m a manuscript man) I knew that this journey of preaching was a faith walk and If I was gonna make it I would have to trust God!

Rehearse the Sermon!

So my advice to you is rehearse the sermon, preach it and everyone word for word at home as you will on Sunday. If you tune tune if you whoop whoop, but practice makes perfect! No it don’t negate the Spirit trust me the Spirit will still give u wings! But you’ll find Him givin’ you wings at home tooo! He’s omniscient too!

Also, tape it, and all your sermons so you can critique them. Everybody will say you did fine but you’ll know you can do better.

GO TO SCHOOL, God has given you a talent don’t put it in the ground! sharpen your tools son sharpen ya skillz. Nawmean?

Give it all you got. Might be ya last time.

Make sure you get the offering! lol naw, but real talk 1st sermons bring in good offerings when done right. U gonna need the cash to either enroll in school and buy books! You must buy books. You can want to be seen (nice suits) or heard, if you’re preferred to be heard folks will always wanna see you! But they can see you without hearing you!

Blessings and Peace


Pastor Napoleon J. Harris, M. Div, M. Ed. is the senior pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and a Web Minister at SoulPreaching.Com. He has studied African American Preaching and completed his senior thesis on evaluating the celebration component of the Black sermon.

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