Bailey McBride | The Christian Chronicle
Although Christians sometimes get confused and think that the preacher is the main show in worship, each person in worship is actually the show that God is watching. God is concerned about our thoughts, attitudes and emotions as we come before him to offer our praise and adoration.
Still, preaching is important because it informs us about God and inspires us to make changes in our lives, our thinking, and our attitude.
I learned the value of preaching while I was in high school and listened every Sunday to Delmar Owen, a minister who was committed to preaching effectively and changing lives.
At the time, I thought that I would like to be a preacher. I was encouraged by my mother, a half-dozen aunts, my church’s elders and Owen himself. In college, I realized that my voice would be a detriment to preaching — too high and weak. But my experience has made me an encourager of young men to become preachers.
The Churches of Christ need good young men to become preachers. We should all be talent scouts as we hear our youths give devotional talks, pray or read Scripture. When we see talent in a young man, we should invite him for a Coke and conversation. We should allow him to talk about his interests and spiritual habits. That should give us a chance to show that we value what he does — and what he might do for the Kingdom if he chooses to preach or serve in other ways.
Those who make the decision to work in ministry also need encouragement. We must be good listeners. It is not enough to compliment a sermon. It is important to talk about the ideas of the sermon or the way that a lesson influenced our thinking.
Take your preacher to lunch. Find out what challenges he is facing, what he is attempting to do through his sermons and what may be discouraging him. The stronger your friendship, the more you can support him.
Encourage your preacher to develop patterns of spiritual discipline and to study Scripture for its message to his life. Encourage him to expand his vision of the spiritual world. Give him a copy of a book you have found helpful in your spiritual journey.
Introduce him to people whose spiritual maturity can be helpful. Pay for him to go to a workshop where preachers discuss methods and styles.
Talk to your church’s elders. Share with them the qualities you admire in your preacher — just in case they are not as attentive as they should be.
Quiz those who say they are unhappy with the preacher and present the case for his strength.
Guide your preacher to find time for personal renewal. Many ministers are so driven that they don’t spend as much time as they should nurturing their families. Give your preacher a gift card so he can take his wife to dinner. Encourage him to take off the day he has designated. A preacher who works seven days a week exhausts himself and fails to inspire the church to greater holiness.
Many congregations have more than one minister, and all ministers need encouragement and support. Even ministers who seem self-confident and assured probably would be happy for a chance to have coffee and talk about the challenges of their work. Every church member should encourage the entire staff.
Churches should have a plan for staff members to take sabbaticals — not an extended vacation, but a time to pursue a program of spiritual renewal, time that allows ministers to enhance skills and study new materials.
Watch out for your preacher and all who work for the church.
CONTACT Baliey Mcbride at firstname.lastname@example.org