By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
This is a message to full-time preachers, whether they are pastors, evangelists, or revivalists, in contrast to those who are bi-vocational. I have had the privilege of being a full-time pastor, and the privilege of being a bi-vocational one. I am presently between pastorates and am a school bus driver.
Those who are full-time preachers need to understand that they live in a unique world, so to speak. Though they have many of the same struggles that others do, they live in a unique world, for they spend most of their time thinking and talking about Biblical subjects. They also have more time for prayer. The Bible is the Word of God, and therefore it has the power to keep its readers inspired and encouraged. It has the power to keep its readers pure in thought, word, and deed. Prayer keeps us connected with God, and is a means by which we can find strength to deal with life’s struggles of one kind and another. So, the amount of time full-time preachers are able to spend reading the Bible and praying gives them an advantage over most of those to whom they preach.
Full-time preachers need to remember that many of their Christian listeners daily face battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil which they, themselves, do not face. Full-time preachers are often somewhat isolated from the various bad influences that others face while at work. These bad influences include profanity, inappropriate talk about sexual subjects, moral relativism, and the negative view of life that is common to many who are not Christians. Full-time preachers must also remember that some Christians have non-Christian spouses and family members who do not support them in their Christian walk. These factors and others have the potential to weaken the spirituality of Christians who must deal with them on a daily basis.
Therefore, full-time preachers need to spend less time scolding Christians for their failures and spend more time seeking to help them be victorious over bad influences. Christians working in the secular world need instruction and encouragement. And when they are challenged to repent of their sins and to resist whatever harms their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, it must be done in a manner that says, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”
Here are some Bible verses that apply to this subject: Preacher Paul told Preacher Timothy: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,” (Second Timothy 2:24.) Preacher Paul gave the following wise words to Christians in general, but they have special meaning for preachers: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Galatians 6:1 – 3.)
All preachers should read and re-read what are called “the pastoral epistles,” for in them we find God-given teaching for those in the preaching ministry. The pastoral epistles are the apostle Paul’s two letters to preacher Timothy, and his letter to preacher Titus. All preachers would also do well to read and re-read the Book Of Acts, for in it we see the apostles of Christ and other preachers at work, from which we can learn valuable lessons.
Here are valuable words that preacher Peter wrote to his fellow-preachers, whom he called elders: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:1 – 4.)
The Biblical quotes are from the King James Version, and were taken from this website: www.biblegateway.com.