It used to think being an itinerant speaker would be an awesome job. I think I even prayed a few times that God might let me be one. And now, my job is to be an itinerant speaker.
I think what excited me about the idea of travelling around and speaking places was:
A) When you just do one off speaking gigs people tend to be really appreciative
B) When you visit a place once you don’t have to deal with all the baggage and mess doing life with people brings
C) You get to preach all the time, which would be awesome
Now that I’m doing the job, I’ve found that all those things happen. People are much more appreciative of my speaking when they don’t have to listen to me every week. And when I arrive at a school, youth group, camp or church, I usually don’t know what’s going on for people. I get to be blissfully unaware of everyone’s issues. And I’m preaching 4-5 times every week, sometimes up to 5 times in one day, it’s great!
But all these things aren’t all I hoped they’d be. It’s nice that people are nice to me about my preaching, but it’s rare to ever actually be challenged on what I say, or given tips on how people think I could improve, or given much in the way of feedback at all. There is little pushback from those who listen, because you’re just passing through.
Often, when you’re just passing through, you miss the continuity of relationship that you get from day in, day out ministry. You might not have to deal with peoples problems, but they’re is a joy in getting to play a part in helping people know Jesus better in the midst of life’s messiness. Plus you also miss out on their triumphs. You just see a glimpse and then you move on.
I do love preaching regularly. But when you’re preaching 3-4 new messages a week, there is no time to stop and reflect on the scriptures. When I have to keep preparing new stuff, everything seems under done.
However there is some good stuff about itinerate speaking that I didn’t know about:
I get to be on the road a lot, I love driving, I love listening to audiobooks, I love being alone.
Getting to do the same talk many times, I get to perfect it, it’s fun being able to work on the nuances of a talk rather than just getting it done.
You get to speak about the big passages all the time. None of this obscure stuff. You just do the greatest hits of the Bible.
So I guess I’m happy. I’m glad I have achieved my dream, my prayer has been answered. The lesson perhaps is, your dreams are rarely what you expect, but that doesn’t make them any less worth aiming for.
Or perhaps there is no lesson. This could just be a blog post about my job.