Vol.IX No.III Pg.5
May 1972

To Be A Preacher--

Robert F. Turner

One Sunday afternoon, at a singing, a carpenter and fellow —Christian asked that it be announced he had decided to be a preacher. Breth­ren were a bit surprised, but con­gratulated him on his desire to teach the truth and save souls.

That night he wore a dress—suit to worship, in place of his usual sports shirt and jacket. He was asked to lead a prayer, and we were made to wonder at the holy tone of voice he had suddenly acquired. Hmmmmm! I remember asking him about his plans for the future, and he was rather vague—— something about being available for appointments.

Several weeks later I received a letter from a church in California saying this man had asked to be considered as their preacher, and had given me as a reference. I replied that I thought he was a good man, but that to my knowledge he had no training or experience in public teaching. They hired him anyhow, on anothers recommendation, and he lasted several months. Back home again, a few chur­ches used him for appointments, and he was now an Evangelist. His stationery said so. I had little enough judgement to offer to help him in some studies and sermon—preparation, and there is no indication that he has ever forgiven me.

Another man came to my attention as a rather awkward but personable common laborer, who showed great sincerity when he tried to make his assigned short talk on Wednesday nights. He relied too much on his glib tongue, with not enough solid Bible preparation. When I made some suggestions along this line he swallowed hard, but thanked me, I noticed he began to use some books that had been placed in the church library, although reading did not come easy for him. His Bible talks improved, and he began to fill in with a full— grown sermon now and then. Today he preaches regularly for a church, even though he maintains his regular week­day job. He grins and denies the charge when people call him a preacher — and continues preaching.

I strongly recommend college— grade Bible studies, at the feet of well— educated competent men. Research pa­pers, testing, practice debates, etc. are desirable. Speech work, composi- tion, ancient history, and many other secular studies can greatly assist one in effectively presenting truth. But I am not saying a degree will make a preacher. As for professional preachers — I believe this attitude may be found among the ignorant as well as among the educated.

A preacher is one who preaches; who proclaims the good news and hungrily reaches out for lost souls. The more determined he is to teach others, the more willing he is to improve native talents and develop new ones. He trains for his work with great dedication — because he is deeply interested in his goal, i.e., truth taught and souls saved. He is going to preach, with tongue, pen, and example, regardless of appointment, or support. And churches seek this kind of man, not to make him a preacher, but to fellowship and encourage him in the work he is doing.