Vol.XX No.II Pg.8
April 1983

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Is there some "secret" formula for being a successful preacher? It is no "secret" but I can tell you one element without which your work will be shallow, hypocritical, and eventually a failure. Your first concern must be the salvation of souls!

With this, I have known poorly educated men to succeed where college graduates failed. With this, horrible grammar and inapt illustrations have brought people to Christ, who had not been moved by oratory and beautifully designed transparencies. When genuine love for souls is apparent sinners will accept strong preaching that, in absence of that concern, turns them away in disgust or brings them to their feet with cries of defiance.

We put no premium on ignorance, butchered English, crude illustrations or inadequate preparation. In fact, we believe one who hungers for souls will do all possible to equip himself for the job; and we believe a soul-hungry person who has a good education, speaks clearly and accurately, and has trained himself in the art of teaching others, will do a better job than the ill-equipped. We may add, the soul-hungry man, burning in his desire to reach the lost with God's offer of salvation, is usually aware of his inadequacies and seeks ways of improving his work. He welcomes constructive criticism, for his pride is smothered by his selfless interest in others. Help him save souls and you have given him the best gift.

Many well trained Bible students and polished speakers will never be successful "preachers" — though they occupy popular pulpits, attract great crowds, and draw large financial support. Some may have only a superficial knowledge of what they are supposed to be doing — "hunger for souls" may be words they repeat in sermons, but do not describe their motivation.

If you are one of us preachers who sometimes feel the fire is waning, or you have "lost your touch," or "can't decide what to preach" — think of the prospective audience personally and particularly. Think of it specific spiritual needs — not how you can whip them but help them (Gal. 6:1). Go to God's word for the specific remedy and plan the lesson carefully, prayerfully. And then, "Give 'em Heaven!!"