Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 20, 1971

Dilemma And The Young Preacher

Ercel Ray Warren

Yesterday I turned twenty-nine (29) years old so it is obvious that I am a young preacher. This was more obvious when I began preaching in the "full-time way" at the tender age of 21. True, I had preached before this age to a good degree, but at 21!!! and now 29!!!

Just what, then, is the intent of all this, and what do I mean by "dilemma?" Well, let us consider it on this wise. When I first started I tried to learn as much as I could (still do!) and I wanted to do what I could to help as many as I could (meager, though my efforts might be). I then set about to establish a pattern to assure each lesson presented, "both publicly and from house to house," would be worthwhile for those who were present.

Then I sought ways to reach even more people — A weekly bulletin was a most encouraging way to teach many others, but I wanted to be even more effective, if at all possible. So I determined to write articles to submit to The Gospel Guardian. I did — and to my surprise, some were printed.

Then it began. Some encouraged this, and I determined to do even more, if possible — but certain older preachers began talking to me — and whether they intended to do so or not — they left me with the clear impression that I was too young to do any good in this way.

From that point I began to notice that many times when an earnest exhortation would be given, the attitude of many would be, "When you get older, you will understand."

Paul wrote to Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth." And I can certainly understand that if I preach with an egotistical, "know-it-all" attitude, I shall certainly not be heeding this message. But brethren, let us never be guilty of destroying the zeal for service that is in the heart of the young man. As badly as I hate to admit it, my spirits in certain regards were dampened. And from my own personal experience, there were more who discouraged rather than encouraged.

I thank God for His servants who have encouraged and helped me overcome weaknesses and grow in ways which shall make me more useful for God's service. May more put forth their efforts to encourage the young preacher — the young man.