One major difference about being a Chaplain in my current position and being a civilian pastor is that I don’t preach nearly as often. I’ve only preached in Chapel four times since coming on Active Duty a year ago. I’ve done a number of shorter field services but in terms of the more traditional preaching that you’d see in any given church on a Sunday morning, I’ve only done that four times.
I’ve made a very conscious effort since my difficult experiences pastoring that I want to work to be an engaging preacher in terms of delivery. I’m not a great story teller, I’m not a natural at telling jokes, and pithy sermon illustrations are not my strong suite. But. But. God’s Word deserves to be presented in a compelling manner since it contains the most compelling message ever written. So in my opportunities to preach in Chapel I’ve pulled myself out of my introvert comfort zone and started working to present whatever text I’m preaching in a manner that is engaging.
I think that given time I would have gotten there in the pastorate but the Chaplaincy has forced me to maximize my preaching opportunities and that probably pushed me to hone my craft more quickly than I would have other wise.
Here are my four sermons from Chapel Next this past year: