Standing for the first time among the group, the middle-aged man looked around the circle, then uttered those words: “My name is Bob, and I’m a compulsive preacher.”
“Hi, Bob,” the other voices rang out in unison.
“It all started in seminary,” Bob continued. “When I graduated from college, I planned to become a counselor. Nothing too dangerous — counseling troubled marriages, troubles parents, troubled teenagers, that sort of thing. So I went to seminary to get my degree and hang out my shingle.”
Several others in the room nodded sympathetically. They’d heard it all before.
“In seminary, they required one preaching course. I thought, how much harm could one little course do? After all, it’s just three hours a week. How could I have known then how preaching would get into my system?
“It was only when we had to stand before the class and preach that I began to realize what was happening to me. We were only supposed to go ten minutes, but the professor had to stop me after I’d gone fourteen minutes and I was barely into my first major point!”
A couple of fellows across the room looked at Bob and smiled ever so slightly; that’s how it had started for them also.
Bob continued: “It all mushroomed after that. First I managed to get a student pastorate so I could preach to a real congregation every Sunday. That was terrific! Then I changed my major from counseling to homiletics, and I began taking every preaching class I could. I took the minimum of Hebrew and Church History, I barely glanced at Church Administration — all so I could load up on preaching classes.
“I did em all,” Bob said. “Expository, topical, narrative — you name it, I preached it. Got the campus preaching award, too.”
“After graduation, I went to an old-fashioned church to be sure I’d have at least three services to preach in every week. From there it kept building: a revival here, a dedication service there. Wherever anyone needed a preacher, I was there!”
Bob paused for a moment, then took a deep breath and said, “That’s what brought me here tonight. I need help. I’m preaching nine times a week and still taking invitations! Can anybody help me?”
As Bob stood there, Tom stepped up to him and put his arm around Bob’s shoulder.
“We’re all here for you, Bob,” he said. “Then he added, “By the way, Bob, I’ve got to line up a preacher for our spring revival. Could you check your schedule ….”

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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