Friday, August 26, 2011

Performing under Pressure

Pressure is an interesting thing. Some people always seem to thrive in pressure situations. Others wilt.
I was thinking the other day about Tiger Woods. That guys has had a rough year. Used to be the greatest golfer in the world. And then everything in his life became public and his golf game has suffered ever since. There is a lot of speculation about what all the factors are exactly as to why his golf game has suffered so much. My speculation is that it has something to do with the unbelievable pressure that he feels to redeem himself-his image-his game-his family- all while playing a perfect weekend of golf.
The pressure is to perform at a high level every single week and never appear to be flawed or human or weak. Who can stand up under that?

All of THIS...has been on my mind as I work to find my rhythm with preparing to preach on a weekly basis. After serving in other ministry roles for 10 years I know the preaching role is unique and comes with a different level of pressure. As I work to find the rhythm of preparation, I'm realizing the overwhelming pressure to "perform" like a "pro" each and every week.

Once I read on Mike Cope's blog and think he's been known to say for years that (and I paraphrase) the goal in preaching is to get base hits. If you hit base hits, you'll eventually score runs. As I begin, I'm committed to base hits. The trouble is that there is a such a strong draw to swing for the fences every time you're up to bat. Maybe every preacher/pastor doesn't struggle with this but I do. What do I need to say? How can I leave THAT important point out?

Andy Stanley & Lane Jones book Communicating for a Change has been helpful to me in this regard. The big idea in their book is that sermons just need one point and they talk about a method to make that happen.

I for one like pressure and the challenge of standing up under it. But what I like more is knowing that my job is to remain in Christ and let him do the work! There is great freedom in knowing that we bear fruit because we remain on the vine. (Jn 15:4) And it is the vine that gives life to the branches to be carriers of fruit to the world.

What if instead of relying on our own power, we rested in the power of the Spirit and wait in expectation for God to reveal all that He is capable of doing?

1 comment:

Joe D said...


I suspect that we all struggle with this "pressure to perform" from time to time. And I have to say that I almost constantly have to keep myself in check at doing things under my own power instead of resting "in the power of the Spirit and waiting in expectation for God to reveal all that He is capable of doing". What a much better plan. I suppose we are not hardwired or even conditioned to do the latter and our default is to do the former.
But what would our churches look like if we did collectively rest in the Spirit and wait in expectation??