I find myself with a week ahead of me that does not contain within it the expectation of a sermon at the end of it. Rev. Melissa Dodd is preaching Sunday morning, and I will be serving as the worship leader.
And may I just say, "Ahh."
It feels really good to have this week in which maybe 12 - 15 hours of time is freed up by what would have been sermon prep. And now it can be ... well, it can be whatever I want it to be, can't it? Visits, reading, writing, planning, working on Ministers' School, preparing for the PLD class I'm co-teaching, taking communion to some of our homebound folks ... pretty much sky's the limit!
I would not feel this way if not for the presence of my gifted colleague in ministry, Melissa Dodd. I am free to have a week like this because I know that I do not have to worry about this Sunday at all. She is an excellent preacher, engaging and challenging, and I can't wait to hear her preach.
(As an aside, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to wish Melissa a wonderful birthday today. Out of respect for her privacy, I will not share with you all exactly which birthday this is, but there is a zero at the end of it and it is not thirty.)
The other thing that having a week like this does for me is make my own preaching better. I think that he key to better sermons is to preach less often. I heard that years ago at a Ministers' School, and I've never forgotten it. It gives me more time and energy to focus on the sermons I preach, the weekly preparations become less of a grind and the sense of joy is renewed. Plus I have a chance to listen to a good sermon, which fills my soul and stretches me spiritually.
And so ... "ahh" ... I'm ready for a wonderful week of pastoring without preaching.