For the majority of my time in the ministry, I have tried to be an encourager. I do so because I was encouraged by pastors, CBC professors, departmental leaders, and members of local churches. As a young preacher at Central Baptist College in the 1960s, I was blessed to have godly men who genuinely took an interest in me. By no means do I think they thought I was a good preacher; I think their goal was to encourage me so that I could develop my preaching ability.
However, I was not the only ministry student who received their encouragement. Those professors and administrators cared about all of us — and our futures! Dr. C.O. Strong was a professor of English and also homiletics (the process of developing sermons and preaching). He was also my pastor in Conway at Central Baptist Church. It was his encouragement that helped me so much in those early days. He would call various pastors in the state, urging them to invite me to preach in their pulpits. Their responses were such blessings because a young preacher needs to preach. Many who did not get such opportunities fell away — they denounced their calls or just simply quit.
Churches, I assure you that God is still calling men into the gospel ministry. Each one will be different because his spiritual gifts are different, but the one common fact is that they have been called and as a result, they need opportunities to preach to people!
Things were quite different in the 50s, 60s and 70s of the past century. Local associations had regular Young People’s Meetings, which provided young preachers opportunities. Numerous churches had one or two youth revivals each year, and those also provided opportunities. However, by far the best way for young preachers to be able to preach is for pastors to call and invite them!
There are two excellent ways to find out who some of these young preachers are:
• The Baptist Trumpet regularly mentions those who have surrendered to preach, as well as other young men who are available for appointments. Pastors, you can visit BaptistTrumpet.com and look for the “Moving With The Ministers” section under the “Resources” tab for all the previous run listings or contact Baptist Trumpet Executive Editor Jeff Herring (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the names of preachers.
• Central Baptist College, where many of those young men of today are receiving their educations, also recommends the young preachers to the churches. You can contact CBC Professor Dr. Martin Jameson (email@example.com) or CBC Director of Church Relations Duffy Guyton (firstname.lastname@example.org) to recommend one of those students to preach either in pulpit supply or for pastoral positions.
The impetus, as far as I am concerned, is that these young men be encouraged. I still remember the kindness of pastors who invited me as a preacher boy, but I also remember the kind responses from the church members and the encouragement I received from them. Paul’s traveling companion was Barnabas, whose name means “Son of Encouragement.” There are some young preachers among us who need some Barnabas-type encouragement.
Once again, our young preachers need to preach! That’s what I was just thinking this week!