Welcome to The On Preaching Podcast, the podcast dedicated to helping you preach faithfully, clearly, and better.
If my travels, I am asked what advice I would give to a young minister. It is a stark reminder that I am old enough for young preachers to ask this “old preacher” for advice.
I often answer by quoting scripture. Biblical advice is the best advice. Good advice is also personal – coming from those who know you best. And the best advice is practical – principles to live by. With that in mind, permit me to give some free advice to young ministers.
What advice would you give to a young preacher?
Go to School. A call to preach is a call to prepare. Complete your formal training will open doors that may not otherwise be open to you. Moreover, a seminary education will lay a foundation for you – through learning Greek and Hebrew, church history, and systematic theology – that you can build on throughout your ministry. If at all possible, go to school.
Make sure your wife is on board. A pastor must be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2). The Lord would not call you at the expense of your marriage or family. Your mate is not called to ministry because you are. But her entire life will be shaped by your call to ministry. Talk, pray, and wait to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about vocational ministry.
Respect your pastor. Remember the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). Treat your pastor the way you would want to be treated if you were in his shoes. If you do not respect your pastor, find another congregation. Don’t stay and cause trouble for him. But also remember that if you are unable to submit to leadership it may be a sight that you are not ready for leadership.
Preach as often as possible. You learn to preach by studying preaching. You learn to preach in conversation with other preachers. Ultimately, you learn to preach by preaching. It is one thing to train, learn the playbook, and watch game film. It is another thing to play at full speed on game day. Get as many reps as you can by taking as many opportunities to preach as possible.
Be willing to serve anywhere. Do not be picky about where you will serve. It is better to be on the field – in any position – that to be on the bench. Get in the game! If you are too big to do a little thing for God, you are too little to do big thing for God. Jesus Christ came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). Follow his example and play wherever the coach puts you.
Prioritize personal devotions. Effective ministry is the overflow of personal devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Jesus is exercised and expressed by private communion with him. Make sure you are spending time in prayer and Bible intake daily. Read your Bible. Meditate on it. Memorize scripture. Call on the Lord in believing prayer.
Nurture ministerial friendships. You are not the Lone Ranger. You were not designed to go it alone. Take the time and trouble to develop honest, trusting, mutually-encouraging relationships with other ministers. You will need brothers to talk to and pray with who understand the unique role and responsibilities of vocational ministry. Who’s your Barnabas?
Read. Point. Period. Paragraph.
Live the life. Paul counseled Timothy to guard his life and doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16). The instruction to keep a close watch on his life rightly came before watching his doctrine. If your life is out of order, you will be tempted to twist your doctrine to accommodate your lifestyle. Pursue godliness. Don’t just preach the word. Live the message you preach.
Effective ministry is the overflow of personal devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. – H.B. Charles Jr.
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