A boy Wearing long, red swim trunks races down a pier toward a blue lake under a big sky … well, races as fast as he can with swim fins on his feet … and leaps into the air with arms spread wide. The boy in midair graces the cover of Max Lucado's new book Fearless, and the subtitle speaks a word of hope and vision that every preacher longs to inhabit: "Imagine your life without fear." Indeed, imagine preaching without fear of how well you will "perform" or of how people will respond. PreachingToday.com editor Brian Larson interviewed Max, who is minister of writing and preaching at Oak Hills Church, San Antonio, Texas, about his own preaching fears and the glorious calling to preach courage into Christians.
As a preacher, what do you fear?
Almost every time I preach I wrestle with the fear: Do I really have something significant to say? I battle insecurity on a weekly basis. I always end up at the same place: No, I don't, but this is a call from God, so he must have given me something to say. I go through this little wrestling match before I get up to speak, and then when I sit down after a message my first thought is usually, Boy, I blew it. The good side of that insecurity is it causes me to be especially prepared.
Have those feelings changed over time?
Over the 26 years that I've been preaching, the fear has not changed, but my faith has grown. When fear surfaces, I now have much more experience on which I can draw and say, God has taken care of this every single time in the past, so I'm not going to be afraid. It's like David going into battle against Goliath, knowing he's already faced a lion and a bear.