Advice To Preachers

The Lord knows, and we speak reverently, that preachers need advice. And they do not fail to receive it whether desired or not. At times it seems that everyone imagines he know how to preach better than the preacher who has been trying it for twenty-five or thirty years. Every preacher has met that member of the church who wants the gospel preached without offense to any and presses the preacher to accomplish this impossible task.

A story that illustrates this appeared originally in Quote from the pen of Les Carpenter who credited it to former Congress­man from Arkansas, Brooks Hays. We consider it a gem.

It seems that a young preacher was assigned to a church in Kentucky. He wanted his first sermon to be memorable, and he decided on a fiery denunciation of horse racing. As services were dismissed, one of the deacons rushed to tell him that he was in an area known for its fine horses and that many of his congregation raced their horses.

The preacher took the hint, and on next Sunday delivered a roaring ser­mon on the evils of smoking. The deacon was back at the first opportunity to warn the preacher that tobacco was grown in the area, that it figured big in the local economy and that part of his salary came from tobacco farmers.

On the next Sunday, still striving valiantly to please, the preacher took out after whiskey. The deacon promptly returned to him and reminded him that the town had a distillery where many of the church members worked.

“Well what can I preach on?” asked the frustrated, young preacher.

“Why not,” replied the deacon, preach ag’in them heathen witch doctors. There ain’t one of them in a thousand miles of here!”

This in turn reminds us of an article we read in the Firm Foundation a number of years ago. The head of the Bible Department of one of the so­called “Christian colleges” was giving advice to young preachers. Said he, “When I am in a community where there are Methodist, Baptists, and Presbyterians and I wish to preach against human, religious bodies, I talk about the Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists. In this way I avoid giving offense to my hearers. I would advise young preachers to do this.”

Someone should have warned Paul about preaching to Felix and Drusilla on “Righteouness, temperance, and judgment to come.” No doubt he would have made a better impression had he preached on the Roman citizen’s duty to be obedient to Caesar. It is too bad that he did not have the head of the Bible department of a modern college to give him advice (or some of the brethren among the churches). Who knows but that he might have lived a great deal longer and made more friends and influenced more people had he done so? However, we think we’ll take our stand with Paul and preach what the people need to hear from the word of God rather than what they like to hear. We have a sneaking suspicion that, while this might not make one more popular with time-serving brethren, it will immeasurably enhance his standing with Christ! It seems to this writer that “them heathen witch doctors ain’t giving us much trouble!” - Adapted from Gospel Visitor

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