Like Telephone Poles on the Highway

Like Telephone Poles on the Highway
July 5, 2016 Dan Wunderlich

The journey we go on each time we prepare to preach is really something, isn’t it? A couple months back, I heard Nadia Bolz Weber share that the first thought she has when reading her next Scripture is:

“Well, I’ve had a pretty good run, but it’s over.”

While far from scientific or definitive, I ran a Twitter poll asking which part of preaching people like more: preparation and writing or delivery. Delivery won 10 votes to 1.

Even my favorite writer of all time, E. B. White, had a love/hate relationship with writing, noting in The Second Tree from the Corner:

“The thought of writing hangs over our mind like an ugly cloud… we begin the day by subsiding after breakfast, or by going away, often to seedy and inconclusive destinations: the nearest zoo, or a branch post office to buy a few stamped envelopes. Our professional life has been a long shameless exercise in avoidance… Yet the record is there. Not even lying down and closing the blinds stops us from writing.”

This leads me to wonder whether everyone actually loves the public speaking aspect more, or maybe we’re just glad the writing phase is over.

While catching up on the hilarious and at times irreverent Tumblr blog “Everyday I’m Pastoring,” I found this post:


Whether it is a sermon, small group session, blog post, newsletter article, or that Facebook post you’re trying to write about the election without completely alienating half of your congregation… We go through this process repeatedly.

What I find most interesting about this take on the creative process and/or sermon writing is that five of the six steps are about the work itself. This will be good. This is hard. This is bad. This might be ok. This is great.

But nestled there in the middle is the moment or the day or the season when the struggle makes us question our own identity and abilities. I am bad.

I could write a blog post with 5 steps to avoid this feeling, but thankfully, those moments tend to pass on their own. Those clunkers of a sermon are inevitably, for some reason, always someone’s favorite. But even when they’re not, they’re like telephone polls on the highway. The next one’s coming, and eventually that one will be so far back that you can’t even see it in the rear-view mirror.

Keep driving. Keep learning. Keep writing. Keep preaching. Keep being faithful. You can do it.

Sign up to receive resources and updates from Defining Grace in your inbox.

Including a FREE PDF with 10 Action Steps for Better Church Announcements!


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this site–potentially in the post above–are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Defining Grace is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *