My Preaching Freak-Out Moment

Within the first minute of the sermon on Sunday, I was freaking out between my ears. Outwardly everything was normal, but on the inside I was in full panic mode – at least for a moment.


Our time of singing together was coming to an end, so I bent over to pick  up my Bible off the chair next to me. Our worship leader began to pray, which was my cue to get ready to preach. While she was praying I slowly walked up to the podium, just as I do most every Sunday, and opened my Bible to organize my Bible, notes and bulletin/information guide.

But something was wrong. I observed that I had both pages of the sermon, but something was missing. Or were things just out of order? Nope, this was a real preacher’s crisis: I could not find my introduction:

Take your Bible and turn to Acts 14 and get ready to turn to Matthew 18

  • My name is Brent, I am one of the pastors of this local church
  • We are glad you are here and you are welcome to be here, no matter who you are and what you have done
  • At the end of this preaching time, we will have a response time – meet us in the back.
    • May God’s word move you to embrace God’s people as you surrender to Him, because He surrendered His life for us.

The intro is practically the same every week. It reminds me to introduce myself by name to our guests. It’s how I start every sermon, but it wasn’t there and the worship leader was about to say, “Amen.” What has happened and what am I going to do?

And then I realized what I had done, I had taken a duplicate copy of page two of my notes. In the process of fine-tuning and transferring notes I had two pages of the same notes. I had thrown my introduction away!

Truly, I was having a moment of preaching-panic.

What do I do? Should I just be honest and call timeout and tell everyone what has happened and I need to go to the recycle bin to get my first page of notes? Sometimes people need to know us preachers are human. I could ask them to pray – to pray I find my notes. And by the way, I worked really hard on that introduction. Do I just jump to the notes I do have, surprising everyone with a short sermon?

I have to make a decision. I have to say something. What do I do?

I have already preached this sermon three times to an empty room as a part of preparation, so I could try to preach the first page by memory. I am about to find out if my preparation has been adequate. I decide to go for it.

Here is the link to the sermon audio (A Defense of Church Membership and A Plea for Committed Community) and here is a copy of the first page of my notes:


Take a listen and look to see how I did. I left off a few things and mis-remembered a few references, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad.

What would you have done?

I have been regularly preaching for seven years and this is the first time that has happened and I hope it never happens again.

And by the way, pray for your pastor. He sometimes loses his notes.



About brentprentice

Brent is the lead pastor and one of the Elders at Eagle Heights in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has been married to Lacey for 14 years and together they love two sons, Luke and Elijah, and a daughter, Bella.

Posted on January 4, 2016, in Preaching. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I would write an emergency Sermon in the back of your bible on the blank page that’s there.
    Then I would study Romans Chapter 5, or Galatians chapter 3 then just let the Holy Spirit teach you while you preach, and talk about all the people that were healed by Jesus and how Jesus said your faith has healed you. For me Faith in what Jesus did on the cross taking away the cruse of the law so we don’t have to work for Salvation. You asked me what I would do. I am not a preacher just a born again person who wants to learn.

    • Mark, Thank you for responding to my blog. I appreciate the advice and have seriously considered. I can always appreciate someone who is willing to learn and is teachable. Fortunately, I prepared well enough that I didn’t need a backup. But that may be something to consider. I hope you are well.

  2. Yes I am well Thank you for asking.
    My Definition of Judgment
    I am weak and know I don’t deserve to be saved. I know in my heart the only one who saved me from hell is Jesus my creator. On the cross Jesus died for my sins. It’s not how good I am or how many works I do. I could give all my money to hospitals or to the homeless. This is not God’s way to Salvation.
    The cross of Jesus made a way for this drunk and sinner to live a life of hope and Joy. Every morning I pray and say thank-you Jesus for the love you showed me on the cross. I praise him with gospel music, I have about 40 Songs on my phone. I read the Bible which is the word of God which I believe is Jesus Christ. This morning I am reading Romans 8:13-16 and tears come to my eyes when the word says I can yell out Abba Father when I need Him. I love you Jesus for your salvation. From the darkness into the light thank you Jesus. “I love you”. So, to be judged by God when I die makes no sense to me, because I try and judge myself every day. For God to judge me when I confess my sins and when Jesus says Mark I died for all your sins not just that one or two but all your sins. I have tears in my eyes when I pray and know I deserve judgment, but my creator says, “Mark you are my son and I know your heart, I see your repented heart and you’re trying the best you can to walk with me”. “Mark, I love you, I died, suffered for you and rose from the death just for you”. When the time comes for me to die and I hope that I die with the name of Jesus on my lips. I will run to Jesus my savior just like a child seeing his Father after a long separation and say, I love you Jesus. So you saints who want to be judged better get out of the way. Here comes Mark, a child of God running to his Savior. I like to read Romans chapter 5-8 and Galatians chapter 3. The chapters give me hope when I get up in the morning.
    Brothers and Sisters just believe what Jesus did on the cross for you.

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