FTP: Sermons, happiness and 3x5 cards

Pastor Gary Karschner
Gary Karschner is the pastor at Miles First United Methodist Church

This is for the graduates. The other day I took a moment to think about my future plans in the church. Some folks may say what is there to think about? “You only work one hour a week so ride that horse till it dies.” While this may be the view some folks have of my job, I think in reality it is probably two to three hours I work on Sundays. The other day I recorded my sermon to honor the graduates. This is part of the radio ministry we do on KCSA radio. It is aired on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM. This radio ministry has been going on for a year now, and what originally was started as a quick fix during the pandemic is still going strong. This program called “The Miles Circuit Rider” has been a blessing to me personally. Whether it has been a blessing to the community, church or audience is debatable.

The Circuit Rider is a regular church service with prayers, hymns and a short message. Short is subjective, but in the real scheme of things it is a short service with a short sermon. It has caused me to change how I had previously been preaching. Before I started writing and recording my sermons, I had used a couple of three by five cards to hold my notes, and from those cards I preached my message. I would read and walk to the front of the congregation and expound on what I had just read. I like to walk and talk during my sermons. I thought I was doing pretty well with my messages. It was after the start of the Circuit Rider and having to write an entire sermon (4-6 pages) it was suggested by my church members that I should read the sermon at church that I preach on the radio.

Reading a manuscript sermon is not my style. I am a walking sermon person. I had to adjust to reading the sermon and keep some connection with members of the congregation. I have had to learn to read and look at the members of the church. It was and is a change for me. I am learning to do better than I did the week before. I am a work in progress.

Why do I mention this? It is a reminder to the graduates to not get too comfortable with what they are doing. They may think they are going to graduate and immediately get a job in their chosen field of study, and life will go on forever. It is good to think that way. Optimism is a good trait to have. I have to tell you, life may have something to say about your future. I tell you to stay positive and keep reaching for your goals, and you will make your own path in YOUR life. When you reach that one pinnacle, don’t stop there. HE has plans for you and if you listen to that little whisper in your ear, He will lead you to new challenges and successes.

You are a work in progress and He is not done with you yet. If He can push this tired old preacher to get out of his comfort zone and start a new style of ministry, He has infinite plans for you young folks. Do what you like and enjoy what you do to make a living. If you are not happy doing what you are doing.

Life is flexible. If you read nothing else this day, remember this: Money is not everything. Happiness in doing your job and is the best reward you will ever experience. It may take more than two or three hours on Sunday morning to get your job done, but it will be worth it. May you reach and exceed your goals. Be Well, Gary K