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Monday, June 3, 2013

Old Preacher Advice

Which is worth exactly what you pay for it: (Free advice is never worth as much as you pay for it.)
By Wayne Polk

1) Beware of those in the new congregation who try to get very close to you too quickly. They most often have ulterior motives related to using the new preacher to accomplish some personal goal in the congregation. When they are not able to manipulate the preacher, they sometimes become [your] adversary. There will always be those who oppose you (whether to your face or behind your back) so identify them, pray for them daily, and have your wife bake cookies for them often. Overtly loving them publicly as well as privately inhibits both their willingness and ability to accomplish mischief.
2) All that glitters is not gold and all that is tarnished is not without value. It takes time to get to know a congregation so the new preacher must keep an open mind. Members who gossip about others tell the new preacher more about their own character than about the target of their venom. (Gossip is just as insipid when disguised as benevolent information to help you deal with a brother who "needs your help, patience, understanding, or prayers.")
3) Most materials can be molded if the proper techniques are used, but sudden force will often break them. People are the same way. The preacher must never take it personally when he preaches his heart out about a subject and doesn't appear to be getting any results. People spend years getting messed up by sin, tradition or false doctrine and it will often take them longer to get straightened out than it did to get messed up. The preacher is more often than not achieving more good than he realizes. Be patient and give the brethren time.
4) "NO ONE CARES HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE." It's not until the preacher learns to sincerely love the congregation and the members feel confident in his love that he will be able to lead them to a closer walk with God. [T]he more they feel loved by the preacher, the more they feel loved by the Savior he proclaims and the more open they are to being lead in a closer walk with that Savior. Remember: Jesus died for those who were His enemies. Just hours before His death, he washed the feet of His betrayer. We don't have to like someone to love them and we don't have to approve of their actions to love them, but we have to love them and to be patient with them before we can lead them to the Savior.
    The sick need the Great Physician so don't isolate the ones who need you to guide them to Him.
5) If the preacher wants people to remember what he teaches, he must make his teaching memorable. If the preacher just repeats what the brethren have heard in exactly the same ways they've always heard it, he is simple scratching the itching ears. The preacher can't change the truth, but he can present God's truth in ways that force the brethren to stay awake, to listen and to go to the book to confirm the message. Teach them to be seekers of truth, not parrots who repeat what they've been programmed to say.
6) The preacher measures his success not in the compliments at the door or in the approval of the brethren, but the change he is able to motivate in the lives of his listeners. If he can motive them to love God enough to alter their lives to conform to His pattern, the preacher is a success. Personal Note: I use a simple formula for preaching: "I AM." Give them Information from God's word; tell them how to Apply that information in their life; and then Motivate them to make that application in their daily walk. If those three elements are in every sermon, the brethren will be mature into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
7) The preacher must always remember who's the Boss and be loyal to Him above all else. The brethren may pay us, but we work for God. Be true to the Boss. The brethren can't fire one from being a preacher, only stop paying him and if they do that they've already stopped listening to him so it was time to move on anyway. This is God's world and we are members of HIS church. It is before God that we will all stand to give an accounting of our stewardship. If the preacher loves God with all [his] heart, mind and soul, the love of the brethren will be a given. When the brethren feel loved, they more often than not will respond with love. God love’s regardless so put Him first in your life, but hug your wife and babies every day. No matter how busy you get, make sure to reassure them of your love every day of your life. When done right, the ministry is harder on the preacher's family than on him, but also a joy beyond description.

- via The Lantern, Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the congregation and you may visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com


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