Preaching in the dry places
I’ve hit one of those preaching dry places that I’ve been warned about. I’ve been preaching for a little over three years, now, about 50 weeks a year.
The chief aspect of this dryness is my lack of satisfaction with any sermon illustrations or stories. I’ve grown distrustful and uncomfortable with personal stories. They all feel like add-ons or accessories. No story or anecdote can possibly connect to every person. Many might actually make some people feel excluded. I’m finding myself aware of the gulf between my experiences and understandings and reactions and the vast, unknown inner life of the people who hear the sermon. I’m finding myself feeling that every story — especially the good ones — detract in some way from the Scripture.
I find myself thrown back on the text and not comfortable venturing far from it, which means I lose all those colorful bits and touching stories and illustrations. In short, I think I’m much less interesting in the pulpit, but I’m not sure how to avoid that without doing something that feels — at least for the moment — contrived.
None of this is meant as a criticism of any preacher or even myself. It is simply a report.
I’m told these dry periods are part of the preaching life. This is my first one. I wonder how long God will leave me here.