In my studies at Southeastern, I had a professor once encourage us to publish journal articles instead of books as budding scholars. He pointed out that many of us will continue to grow as followers of Christ because the Lord constantly refines us as theologians. Of course, this is what what happens when you study God’s Word. Our professor was implying that we are a work in progress, and that our books should come after the Lord sanctifies us by his Holy Word and his Holy Spirit.

With this wise counsel, I hesitate to publish my sermons online. As a preacher, I am a work in progress. I still believe that I have so much more to learn and so many areas that still need to be refined in this divine calling after nearly ten years of preaching the Word of God. The more I stand before God’s people and proclaim his Holy Word, the more I am humbled and reminded how my weakness is made perfect by God’s grace. Yes, I believe God can use the faithful preaching by an imperfect vessel to speak to his hearers regardless if they are sitting in the church pew or watching from a screen. However, I believe I’m still in the growing season of ministry, and for that reason, I hesitate to put my sermons online at this time.

A Personal Example:

A few years ago I watched one of the very first sermons I ever delivered. Our media team recorded our messages and burned them on a DVD for us to watch. What a humbling experience. I watched this young me preach with conviction, but also with many discrepancies. Some parts of the sermon seemed to be more about “Jeremy” rather than King Jesus, and that was definitely a problem. Looking back, I would say two things to those wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ if they ever asked me to come back and preach (which I gladly and joyfully would accept).

First, thank you for the abundant grace you extended to me as a young minister of the gospel. Your patience and encouragement were used by God to refine me into who I am today. Second, I apologize for those times that I came across arrogant or harsh. I ask for your forgiveness when I exalted self over the glory and majesty of the Savior. The reality is that I was young and growing in my calling for gospel ministry, and this growing realization is why I hesitate to put my sermons online.

Possible Objections:

Perhaps some reading this might object on two grounds. On the one hand, many might argue that we live in an era that we can leverage media to advance the gospel. I would not doubt the impact media might play in reaching more people, but we might ask ourselves two examination questions before hitting that “post” button: 1) Have I been through God’s refining process long enough to take my sermons public? 2) What is my true motivation for posting my content online, the glorification of “my” platform or the glorification of the Messiah? An honest self-assessment, should help you determine if or when you should post your sermons on the internet.

On the other hand, some could make the claim that posting online is for those who are unable to attend church for a myriad of reasons. I applaud you for taking the task seriously to feed your sheep through the exposition of God’s Word. My rebuttal question would be: Is publicly publishing your content online the only means of getting your sermons to people who are unable to attend the church you serve? In truth, there are many ways to get your sermons to members unable to attend. For example, create a private YouTube channel with your sermons and send those links out to your members or those who ask for them. More than likely, these people know you as their pastor so they will show you the same grace that the first church I preached at showed me. Maybe you could burn your sermon to DVD’s or send out an MP3 of your sermon through email. In other words, there are many ways to deliver content to those who are unable to attend your church service besides posting publicly on the internet, but still allows the Lord time to refine your gifting.

A Word of Caution:

My last word of caution is to remember that what gets posted on the internet is in public for a lifetime. We are seeing this truth in our current social media climate. People can take videos from your past and bring them to light in the present. Some with ill intent can edit your videos to portray something in the negative by removing the statement from its context. Therefore, we need to use caution in what we post today because it could hurt the gospel–albeit unintentionally–tomorrow.

Concluding Thoughts:

It is for this reason (and many more) I have decided not to post my sermons online at this time. Many other forms of media can be used to get my messages to members unable to attend services, but I truly believe God is still working in me as a minister of the gospel. Therefore, as he continues to refine me, I will be hesitant to publish my sermons on a public domain like the internet.

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