Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 28, 1951

Preachers Wanted

David Lipscomb (Gospel Advocate, 1903)

We have never known the demand for preachers—good, faithful, gospel preachers—that there is now. They are wanted to do evangelistic work—to go out among those ignorant of the gospel and teach them the Bible, the word of God, which is able to save their souls. We rejoice to see the growing demand. It indicates a growth in the spirit of Christ, a willingness to sacrifice to save others as he sacrificed to save us. This is the only true, healthy, Christian spirit. Save yourselves by saving others is God's order. The church or the Christian that thinks to save self without saving others is doomed to failure.

Brethren write to us for preachers to do this work of preaching the gospel from Valdosta, Ga.; Pineapple and other places in Alabama; places in Arkansas and Mississippi; and various places in Tennessee and Texas. We know of none to send. A number of young men studying in the Bible School intend preaching; but so far as we know, their arrangement for work when school is out has been made. What is to be done? While we believe in children and young people being taught the Bible while in school, and believe all preachers, as others, are the better for training in both secular learning and in the Bible, it will not do to depend upon the schools for preachers. They will never be able to supply the demand, and it will be a mistake if we are depended upon. The Bible School is intended to teach the Bible to all while obtaining an education for the business of life. Others as well as preachers need this familiarity with the Bible, and to have its truths and principles impressed upon their hearts, that they may be guided by them through life.

To supply the demand for preachers, which ought to greatly increase, the churches must look to themselves and encourage earnest and faithful men among themselves to preach. The workingmen must do the preaching, and it must be done to the working people. Sometimes a young man going off from home to school is separated in feeling and sympathy from working people, among whom he was reared, and is unfitted to work among them; sometimes those who do not go to school, if they succeed in making a fair reputation as preachers get above the people with whom the were reared and become the most snobbish dudes and clerical pretenders of any preachers that can be found. Much of this is in the man, not in his station or surroundings in life. The work to be done is to go to the common people as one of them, in full sympathy with their conditions and surroundings and be able to enter their homes and feel at home with their surroundings, and present the gospel.

The way to make preachers is to get earnest men interested and encourage them to study at home. The churches usually accounted weak are the best schools for starting and educating preachers. Then earnest young men ought to be encouraged, even if for a while their work is not in the best style. Many of the most useful preachers grow up from these beginnings. Of the older preachers, brethren Jesse Sewell, Isaac Sewell, and —Dr. Brents are good samples. If a man has a good mind and is industrious and earnest, he will succeed. Of those now doing good labor, we mention brother Cambron of Winchester, Tenn.; brother Meade, of Logan County, Ky.; brethren McPherson, Allen and Cullom, and quite a number of still younger men around Nashville that have grown into useful and effective preachers while pursuing their daily callings for a living for their families. Teachers of this class are doing more today to spread the gospel than those who have had what the world regards better advantages, and are better sustained as preachers. One reason is that they are workingmen and can approach the working people better than those with greater opportunities.

Then, in this work of finding preachers, the only sure way is to make them at home. Encourage the earnest young men among you to begin work in a modest, but earnest, way; encourage and help them to start classes to study the Bible among the working people at their homes, and before you think of it you will have good, effective preachers in your midst. To make your young people earnest, get them to study the Bible themselves. The best way to study it is to teach it to others. A teacher always learns more than his pupils, and a great point to be gained is to make preachers of them without separating them from the common people. I am very partial to the plan brother Dodd has adopted. He has a suspender factory. He employs young people in it, and has them all to study a part of the day, and especially the Bible, while engaged in work for the living. Several good preachers are being developed, and I would like to see such factories multiplied a thousand fold. With the great increase of machinery the world's wants can be supplied without the constant and exacting labor that allows no time for study. Christians should combine labor and study, and he who does not esteem the study of the Bible as the greatest and most important study of life is a poor, half-hearted Christian, to whom Christianity is a burden that he bears as little as possible.

The way to make preachers is to get the people to study the Bible; have your children study it while young, at home, at school, in the factory, on the farm or in the counting room. Its teachings lead to success in this world and to that better success through all the years of God. Study the Bible yourselves and see that your children study it, wherever they are; and then there will be no lack of earnest faithful teachers of the Bible. — D. L.