“My First Sermon” (By Doug Fincher)

June 5, 2023 - I have told “my first sermon” story for my years now, but realized last week that I had almost forgotten my real “first sermon.” I didn’t preach it at Center’s Central Baptist Church in 1950 (as I have claimed) but preached it at the Mill Pond in Shelbyville, Texas. I had the year right but not the place.

In the fall of 1950 I enrolled in Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas. As I was hitch hiking home to Shelbyville one day, I spotted a hungry little puppy abandoned at the roadside. I hitch-hiked home with him and named him “Spot.”

One day after school, Spot followed me to the pond and heard me preach my first sermon. My preacher expressions like “One more word” and “in conclusion” didn’t seem to bother Spot nearly as much they bothered our church members. I had three points (like preachers do) and after closing with “amen,” Spot followed me back up the hill without uttering a single amen or a word of praise.

When I later preached at Central Baptist Church, my Aunt Belvin Busbee told me that I’d be another Billy Graham and that I needed to buy a suit. And she was half-right. 

I did need to buy a suit.