Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 15, 1951

Want A Job Preaching?

Floyd Embree, Artesia, New Mexico

Some folks look at the preacher and say, "What a soft job he has. Two, thirty minute sermons a week, and a class on Wednesday night, and he gets paid $50 or $75 a week for that and he can rest the balance of the time." Some do not think of the Wednesday night class, for they never go, hence don't know that there is such a thing. But, I wonder if you would like to trade jobs with some of our preachers?

Just last week, I was talking with a young preacher. He has a family to support. The elders of the church where he preaches agreed when they hired him that if anything he was doing or not doing was not in accordance to their thinking, and what, in their judgment was not for best, they would be frank to tell him that he might correct any error, or short coming.

The first thing that he knew, about a dozen families of this congregation all took a vacation the same week. That, of course, cut the contribution drastically, and then, next Sunday, the annual revival began. Of course, the contributions rose. As a result, the elders hired the preacher who held the meeting, and came to the local man and asked that he resign and then vacate the house on short notice, despite the fact that his children had just started to school, and that he, not knowing that anything was "cooking" had not had a chance to look for employment elsewhere. Now, he has moving expense, no house, some car and furniture payments to meet, a family dependent on him, and no job. Still think you want the preacher's job?

Frankly, I do not believe that preachers ought to turn professional, and much has been said on that subject of late. But I do think that our preachers need to be taught a few ethics (or Christianity would do better), and they in turn should teach the elders of some congregations. A church that has changed preachers five times in four years has something wrong, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it isn't all the fault of the men who preached there. A church like that doesn't have a right to a decent preacher until they straighten up. Some of the congregations, and the one of which I just spoke, are wondering why the Anti-Sunday school brethren are making so much headway in their community. Perhaps a little thinking on the part of some would answer that question.

An elder of the church today has my sympathy, and I certainly do not envy him his position. I think that church members, if they haven't done so already, should commit at least the first part of Heb. 13:17 to memory. That verse runs like this: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls..." then, it might be well for elders to know all the verse with special attention to the latter part: "For they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable to you." Elders have the fearful responsibility of watching over the members of the congregation, and they have to give an account to Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd, for each soul that is lost. A fearful responsibility indeed! How then, can an elder of the church conscientiously attend one service a week of the church, then stay busy at his place of business the balance of the week, realizing that he will stand at the judgment and give an accountfor those souls under his care, for which he gave no needed attention? The cry of some that "He gives his money well to the support of the church" will not suffice. While it is true that we cannot go to heaven if we are stingy with our means, neither can we go to heaven on a hundred dollar bill. You can't buy off from the other responsibilities that you have.

And perhaps if we had elders who knew their duties, and did it, the preachers could do a better job of preaching the gospel. If the preacher doesn't do his job, then he should not be supported. If the preacher just doesn't fit the congregation, then he should move, but he should be given ample notice and time. There is a place where he fits and can save souls. And perhaps we would not be so short on preachers as we are today if we would just practice the religion of the first century a little more, and use a few Christian ethics in dealing with each other.