I really don’t want to preach
Firstly, I would like to thank you for all your time and effort to put up all this material. I have been reading your questions and answers for a while now, and it helps a lot.
It has come a time now, that I would write to you concerning an issue I am currently facing. I have been baptized into Christ for the remission of sins and attending my local congregation for almost 20 years now. I am a shy man and tend to avoid social gatherings and situations in front of crowds of people, strangers, family, or friends. At a young age, I had low self-esteem about myself, and at school one of the worst things that could happen to me was when it was my turn in class to read in front of others. I would mostly lose my breath. Mostly when having a conversation I try to avoid eye contact and keep the discussion as short as possible.
Brothers and sisters especially the elders at my small congregation are very supportive of me and want me to start preaching at the worship service. The church has been assembling for almost 50 years now, and the elders are aging. The elders do the teaching as there is currently no preacher. I don’t want to rebel against God, but I don’t have a desire to be a preacher, mostly because I see myself as unfit for it ( especially addressing the crowds).
I am a bit at a loss as I don’t want to waste all the efforts of men who worked hard for God to keep the local church on going. I would like your biblical advice, brother.
Once again, I am very thankful for your work,
Your brother in Christ.
I suspect that those in your congregation see that you have greater potential than you do. And if it is a small group, they are probably concerned about someone carrying on the work after their deaths.
However, like most duties, a desire for the work is necessary to succeed at it. It is especially true in preaching because it can be difficult at times when someone doesn't like a point that you made. What I would recommend is gently remind the elders that their duty's first qualification is a desire to do the work of an elder. That is also an important requirement for the duty of preaching. Suggest that the congregation start looking for a preacher to come or perhaps offer to train a willing man to become a preacher.
If you are interested in overcoming your fears, there are ways to battle them. We have a young man here who is in a similar situation. We encourage all the young men to read scriptures and lead prayers (neither requires eye contact), When they get comfortable with that, we ask if they would like to serve the Lord's Supper. We have a five-minute short talk on Wednesday nights and we ask the young men if they would like to do some of them. We don't push, but we help them organize their thoughts and find passages if they are interested. Once a month, we have a ten-minute short talk. And for those interested, we ask if some would like to fill in when I'm out of town. Once in a while, we have someone who is strongly interested and when they have a lesson ready, we put them on the schedule for lessons. We also offer men opportunities to teach Bible classes. It is a gradual process and different men reach different levels. Not everyone wants to preach and that is fine because there is plenty of work to be done in other areas.
"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body" (I Corinthians 12:18-20).
Thank you very much for your answer.