2. Next, Be Mindful of Saturdays.
When I was in my 20s, I loved to stay up late and watch SNL. Now, I watch it on DVR or not at all. I also make it a point to exercise on Saturdays. It helps me sleep better and reminds me that I’m preparing myself for something physical.
It’s like a baseball player putting on his cleats and glove. Ninety percent or better of Saturday mornings, I lift weights and do some cardio training. I go to bed by 10, if at all possible, and never after 11. Spare me the “I’m a night owl” nonsense. It’s a matter of science. You don’t preach as well on five hours of sleep as you do on eight. It takes too much clarity of mind and physical energy to think sleep doesn’t matter.
Exercise and go to bed on time. It sounds simple, and it is. So, do it. It will make a huge difference.
3. Earliness Is Next to Godliness.
I wake up by 5:30 a.m. on Sundays—and often earlier. I used to be at the church building by 6:15 a.m. When New Vintage Church met on Sunday evenings, I morphed the routine. Now, I begin a minimum of three hours before worship begins. I eat while going over my notes. When I get to the building, I turn on spiritual music that feeds my soul and look over them again. I then walk the building, praying and picturing who might be there and what God might do that morning.
If any volunteers are on site, I greet and thank them—telling them it’s going to be a great morning. Then, I go back to my prep place, turn the music back on, and do the final run through of the sermon. I only practice delivery one time formally. Maybe twice for a really important one—because I want the sermon to sound authentic, not overly canned. My goal is to be completely finished with all prep 45 minutes before the assembly starts.
Why? First, so I have plenty of time to handle any unforeseen problems. Second, so I’m not a frenetic mess and don’t see people as interruptions to my preparation. They aren’t. If you see people that way, that means you aren’t prepared. Also, if you ignore your emotional well-being on Sunday mornings, as Jesus said, “Thou art a fool.” In the world of preaching (and ministry in general), earliness is next to godliness. This principle is minister-law at New Vintage Church, and I would encourage you to implement something like it at your church. Worry about Sunday before Sunday or long before most people show up. Then, worship the Lord and enjoy His people without worry.