Your Preacher – More Thoughts

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent, day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest” (Isaiah 62:6).
“Do you recall some talented young preachers who have ‘dropped out’? One member said, ‘He has gotten old.’ The truth is he stopped studying … preachers ought to ‘grow out of their sermons’ as kids ‘grow out of their clothes.’ A good preacher ought to have the Bible in one hand, and a newspaper in the other. This blends the timeless with the timely. Sermons require time. One homiletics teacher said, ‘an hour of study for each minute of delivery'” (Charles Hodge, page 31).
“A preacher receives more courtesies in the first six weeks than in the next six years. Like wives, he is taken for granted. On the other hand, a preacher should not leave the first time the Devil asks him to … Local work is not revival work. Local work is the ‘long haul'” (page 38).
“The hardest preaching is long tenure with the local church. It takes patience, understanding and courage” (page 40).
You may be wondering why these remarks on preaching. “I’m not a preacher,” you might say, “so how are these thoughts relevant to me?”
I am convinced that great preaching begins not in the pulpit, but in the pew. If the congregation’s expectations of preaching are self serving, or based on ignorance, preaching will become pale and hollow. We need to learn God’s expectations of preaching. There is a certainty, a power in deeply studied, heartfelt, Biblical preaching, that goes beyond the antics of public relations or promotional work. Preaching will have lost its sting of authority. Remember that there is a difference between a great preacher preaching, and a great Savior preached.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan began preaching in 1976, and worked in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He served as preacher with the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He was Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He was married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He authored five books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs; Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song; Equipping the Saints for Ministry; and Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation. Stan passed away 19 Feb. 2019.

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