If you’re new to learning about the I Cor. 14 participatory style of church meetings, you may be feeling an expectation to be able to preach, which you may not be comfortable doing.
Don’t worry about it. Take it easy. No one is going to make you stand up and give an hour-long sermon, or even make you say anything at all.
But here’s the key thing to understand: Every man is commanded by God to share God’s Word with others.
For starters, your children are depending on you, Dad, to teach them the Bible. It is your responsibility to make sure they know God’s Word and to know the God who wrote the Word (Eph. 6:4, Ps. 78:2-8, Deut. 6:6-7, Prov. 2:1-5, Ex. 12:26-27, etc., etc.).
You also have a responsibility to teach your wife the Bible. If she has a spiritual question or needs to learn something from the Bible, you are the person specifically ordained and called by God to teach her (I Cor. 14:35).
This is much more important than preaching in church.
You have got to know God and his Word yourself personally, so that you can teach your wife and your children. That is your highest calling in life.
Hopefully you’re already obeying these commands form God. (If not, just ask for help – someone will be happy to coach you.)
So if you can open the Bible, read it, and talk about what it says with your family, you can do it in church too.
It can be as simple as that. Just share with us what you read in family devotions one night last week.
Or you can just read a verse and stop there without further comment.
You could even share something not directly from the Bible, such as a hymn, or something you’ve been praying about with God. (Be aware, of course, that everything you share needs to be firmly in line with the Scriptures.)
Some people have a gift from the Holy Spirit for prophecy, teaching, or exhortation (I Cor. 12:28-30). Naturally, these people will tend to do somewhat more of the speaking than those that are differently gifted. But this is not to the exclusion of those other men.
Often, you can contribute just by participating in the discussion lead by someone else. This broadens the perspective the congregation hears, so that more people can comprehend the message better (I Cor. 14:30-31).
Some men will feel led to give a longer sermon and prepare some notes beforehand, which can be helpful in having a coherent message to deliver.
But you don’t have to be as eloquent as Apollos or as bold as Peter to share. Just say what God the Holy Spirit has laid on your heart. Don’t quench it – you’re only hurting the rest of the congregation when you refuse to share.
Because that’s the key to the whole thing – it’s not about your preaching. It’s about meeting the spiritual needs of the people around you. Are you aware of those needs? Is there something you could say that would be helpful?
Make it your mission to answer that question, and you’ll find that you can be a huge benefit to the church.