Recently, I was asked to speak in a challenging environment on very short notice. That experience caused me to reflect on Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
There are times when every preacher will need to preach or teach on short notice, so how do you prepare in advance? The keys to being ready to preach in season and out of season are development and diagnosis.
To be ready in season and out of season, preachers should develop the following items:
To be ready in season and out of season, preachers should diagnose the situation regarding the following issues:
The best example of “out of season” preaching I’ve ever seen was several years ago at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville. Right before a Christmas season service started, the preaching pastor Russell Moore’s wife went into labor. So, he called on the worship pastor Dan Odle to preach. With about 2 minutes of preparation time, Dan preached a great 20 minute sermon on the Christmas story. I won’t soon forget the moment because of the quality of the sermon and the relief I felt that Dan was selected and not me!!!
One of the most challenging yet most fruitful opportunities any preacher has it to be ready to preach in season and out of season. You can’t always anticipate when you will be called on to preach or teach on short notice, but by focusing on these issues related to development and diagnosis, you will put yourself in a position to honor Christ in any situation.