I guest preached this morning at a friend's church. I find guest preaching even more anxiety-producing than preaching in my own congregation. In your own church, there's always next week if the sermon goes over like a lead balloon. In your own church, you can predict whether your joke will get a laugh, and you can count on the grace of, "We know her, maybe this wasn't her best week, but we've seen her gifts other times." As a guest preacher, though, you just don't know. The order of service and the worship patterns are all a little different. And you don't have that home-court advantage.
I couldn't really tell how this morning went. It wasn't bad. My jokes at least got some smiles and a little tittering. But I wanted so badly to take good care of my friend's congregation in her absence, and I don't know how I did with that. I mean, I trust that the Holy Spirit worked and will continue to work through the worship we shared this morning, I just hope I didn't hinder it too much.
There is, of course, nothing I can do about it now. The worship is over, the echoes of the sermon have faded from the room. So I sip my coffee, take deep breaths, and let it go. At least until next Saturday...
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