A Older Man, Still A Young Preacher

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  • Several months ago, one of our staff pastors shared with me how an older pastor had offended him with unkind words.
    I tried to encourage him. I don’t remember exactly what I said. But it went something like this: “Don’t worry about it. Older preachers have a way of… us younger preachers.”
    Staff member’s response: “Did you say, ‘Us young preachers?’”
    He was right. I am not young anymore.
    Today is my 39th birthday.
    I have been a pastor for more than 21 years. I have been married to my wife, Crystal, whom I met in high school, for more than 13 years.I am the father of three children. Two of them are preteens. Teens! And, of course, my three-year-old, Hailey, is already a grandmother.
    I am not a young man anymore. People call me “sir” when I go into stores. When did I become a sir? Historical events that shaped my youth happened decades ago. I cannot stand that music young people seem to like these days.
    I am not a young man anymore. And when I start to forget it, my body is  first in line to remind me.
    Okay, Okay. I am not a young man anymore.
    But I am still a young preacher.
    I remember when I was in my late teens and early twenties, people used to say, “Just imagine what of preacher this boy is going to be when he gets thirty-five!” Well, that time has come and gone. When I finished preaching, older preachers used to say, “It has not yet appeared what this young man shall be.” I cannot tell you the last time I heard that.
    I know that I am not a young preacher anymore.Translation: I am no longer a rookie!  I have been preaching since I was eleven. I have been a pastor since I was seventeen. It takes a lot to shock me at this point. I have been there, done that, and have the commemorative hat, t-shirt, and coffee mug!
    But this older man is still a young preacher. That is, I am still a growing preacher.
    I am more excited about following the Lord Jesus Christ as I have ever been. I love the word of God more than ever! Studying it and preaching it seems to take years off of my life! I am still in awe of the fact that get to pastor the people of God. I feel like that eighteen-year-old who couldn’t believe that as pastor he would get to preach every Sunday. Every Sunday! Twice!
    I am convinced I still have so much to learn. No one has heard by best preaching yet. I have gifts the Lord is still developing in me. My vision is broadening and my focus is narrowing. There are doors I prayed would be open ten years ago that I am only now ready to walk through.God is not through with me yet!
    I often tease that I am looking forward to becoming a cynical old preacher. But the very opposite is happening in my life. They used to call me an old young preacher. I trust they will call be a young old preacher. Get it?
    The last time that staff member reminded me that I was not a young preacher anymore, I informed him that this old man would outgrow him and the rest of his ilk over the course of this year.
    God willing, may it be so.
    “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Moses (Psalm 90:12)


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.