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Fear of Preaching

According to statistics, just about everybody is afraid to give a speech. It has even been suggested that most people fear public speaking more than death itself.

Could it be God chose preaching as our “great commission” partly because it does frighten us (just as the giants in the land of Canaan frightened the Israelites)? It is not easily accomplished in the flesh.

It is precisely because it is a common fear, and not a natural gift (for many), that most of us would have to put our trust the Lord to step out and do it!!

So why is it so frightening?

 

We Feel Small:

Perhaps, we feel that, as “the preacher,” we are supposed to have something special to say and we are terrified that we really don’t. We fear we are going to be publicly and irrevocably exposed as frauds.

We Fear Leadership:

Perhaps also, we feel the weight of responsibility for the success of the service. We reason, “If my sermon fails, the service fails.”

Adrenalin surges through our system making us sweaty, shaky, dry and even nauseous.

Then, just before going on to the platform, we look for the nearest exit… just in case we need to run!!!

But, if we are obedient, and step up to the challenge, we just may experience what is referred to in preaching circles as, “the anointing.” This is the presence of the Holy Spirit working with and through the preacher. It is an exhilarating, yet humbling experience veteran preachers come to expect.

Here are a few practical tips recommended by the Social Anxiety Center of New York, to help alleviate the fear of public speaking:

1. Be well prepared.

2. Be well rested. Don’t stay up all night preparing. Set it aside and sleep.

3. Eat something, preferably foods high in protein, to maintain an even blood sugar level.

4. Don’t fight anxiety. Accept it as normal.

5. Look good! Dress well.

6. Arrive early. Rushing increases stress.

7. Do not go over your speech in your head while waiting to speak. Be in the moment, listening to others.

(For Christians: Forget you’re preaching today and worship the Lord with abandon. After all, it’s His day not ours.)

8. Find a private place to breath, stretch and warm up your voice.

(For Christians: Find a private place to pray.)

9. Do not schedule any other stressful activities for the same day. Meet with the IRS on another day.

10. Don’t overstretch yourself. If this is your first speech, keep it short and simple.

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