The Preacher’s Disclaimer

By Nate Powell
“ … You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” (Romans 2:21)
A few weeks ago, I started a new weekly task: to preach a sermon to the Auburn Christian Church each week. I say “preach to” and not “preach at” because it’s not words for a location, but words for a people. I’ve been having a blast doing deeper studies and more reading, a task that will continue to grow and increase as I do it more.
But I’ve been reminded that preaching is a humbling task. It’s a task that can’t simply be picked up with an axe to grind against anyone, or without a full measure of self-examination against the text. That’s where the disclaimer that I would desire to post each week comes in. If I could each week, I would want to post a disclaimer that states the following:
“This week’s sermon has been first and foremost preached to the pastor. In light of the scripture, he has been made aware of his own shortcomings, but has the strong desire to grow in the grace of following Jesus Christ faithfully with you.”
In other words, I seek to preach sermons that I need to hear myself. Paul questions those who teach in Romans 2:21, as to whether the lessons they teach have been taught to themselves. As I study and prepare the week’s assigned text, I do it not by asking simply “What is God’s word saying to them?”, but by asking “What is the scripture saying to me, about my life?” I want to be challenged to run the race faithfully, with full endurance, alongside you as a church. We all need the teaching, rebuke and correction of scripture.
If you ever feel that I am not living up to my own standard as a pastor, I give you full permission to call me out on it. I submit myself to you, seeking to decrease in hypocrisy, and increase in living within God’s grace, serving you faithfully.