I'm preaching tomorrow morning at our church, and even though I have probably preached 200 times in the last 8 years, I find myself feeling nervous. I have determined recently that what I actually enjoy about preaching is the research and writing process. I don't mind the actual preaching act, and I have been told many times that I am a good preacher, even a few times that I am a great preacher. But I find far greater joy in thinking and writing than I do in public speaking. I think what I dread about preaching is not the 20-25 minutes up in front of people, but it's the fact that after tomorrow people will look at me differently. This is my first time preaching at our church, and I don't look forward to the attention I will get after this weekend. I have been an anonymous churchgoer for the past 6 months, and it has been glorious. I love being on the side of the church, functioning as a creative outside voice rather than as an insider.
Tomorrow marks the official public unveiling of my "introvert sermon." This is the sermon, or at least a version of it, I expect to be giving for the next couple of years when invited to speak about introversion, the church, and ministry. It's a miniature version of chapter 5 of my book ("Introverted Community and Relationships"), in which I discuss the misconceptions we have about what spiritual growth and community participation looks like. I don't know if the church records sermons, but I hope to put up an mp3 of it if they do.