Preaching Articles

How does someone evaluate if God has called them to preach?  Let them preach.  Profound, eh?  As obvious as this sounds, it is amazing the amount of men in local churches desiring to be pastors and considering a call to preach, but are never given the opportunity to actually preach.  I have known men who spent close to 10 years at seminary finishing both an Master’s and PH.D for the sake of pursuing pastoral ministry and at the end of that time never stepped foot into the pulpit of their church of which they belonged.

Those who seek to pastor and know their need to be tested, trained, and affirmed for pastoral ministry, realize this must include logged time in a real pulpit in a real church preaching God’s word to real church members (This rules out preaching class, sorry).  Although I may be stating the obvious, here are a few places to start if you are a pastor who sees your neglect in this area and desires to engage better.

1)  Provide opportunities.  If you are counting on good book reading and preaching class to cover this basis, you are mistaken.  Pastors, you must provide real opportunities before your people in  public gatherings of the church for these men to preach.  There is obviously some level of evaluation that will have already taken place before doing this, but before a man should pursue pastoral ministry and any kind of preaching ministry, time in your pulpit under your authority and the other pastors/elders is essential.

2)  Provide intentional evaluation.  Do not simply provide the opportunity and hope a few people in the church will give helpful feedback.  Plan to sit down and evaluate the preaching experience with him.  It helps even to meet beforehand and talk about his sermon preparation and remind him that a post-sermon conversation looms.  Make sure you share things he did well and you thought were helpful as well as areas that need improvement.  Use good judgment, but be intentional to evaluate.

3)  Provide another opportunity.  Unless that young man’s sermon was beyond awful, make sure he gets another chance.  Most everybody’s first sermon is bad and the second often times is not much better.  How was your first sermon?  Exactly.  You knew it would be unfair to evaluate your calling on one sermon, so do not put the same pressure on the guys in your church seeking your guidance and affirmation.  I just heard a young man in our church preach an excellent sermon, but it took a good 5 sermons before he learned how to apply the critic he was hearing.  Do not give up on eager young men too quickly.

OK, so there is a starting point.  If you sense a true call on a young man’s life in your church to pastoral ministry, let him preach.  Provide several opportunities.  Give feedback.  Then, let him get back on the horse to ride again.  Remember, the confirmation of his calling through your efforts may not be how good a preacher he is at the beginning, but how eager he appears to be to receive your guidance, critic, and care.

Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children—son Samuel and daughters Abby, Isabelle, and Claire.  He has served in pastoral ministry for 15 years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church.  He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University, receiving his B.A. in Sociology.  He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Talk about it...

Jorge Vasquez

commented on Nov 17, 2015

no mention of sanctification, yikes.

Paul Porter

commented on Nov 17, 2015

Could you elaborate on your comment for readers who are wanting to learn more on this topic? Thanks.

Fred Miller

commented on Nov 17, 2015

A great article! I've long believed, Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first! No matter what a person's calling, there's no better way to learn than doing it again and again. There's no substitute for fervent prayer and diligently seeking the Spirit's Direction but it still takes practical experience to deliver the message effectively and efficiently.

Anonymous

commented on Nov 17, 2015

Misleading caption, "Encouraging Young Pastors." Most all Pastors I have known or met over the last 32 years do not encourage young pastors. Instead, on Sunday morning, they will encourage you to include your "Love Offering" for the Pastor, even if he already has a $70,000 /year salary. Also, I do not see Christ actively involved in the church, which is His body, Eph. 1:22-23, when it comes to the severe lack of preaching opportunities associate ministers/pastors have (maybe one or two opportunities a year, if that), even when these ministers are seeking Christ with godly and holy living. The fact the author wrote this article shows that Pastors (as a whole) are not adequately doing their job in this area. I am tired of ?pie in the sky? articles that never deal with the ugly and real issues that happen in a church that the members may never get to see, or maybe they do see, when they see how few opportunities associate ministers/pastors have in the pulpit. Starting in 2016, I challenge you to keep track of how often other ministers that are members at your church actually preach on Sunday morning at your church. It won?t take long before you see what I am talking about. I am currently writing a book that will expose the hypocrisy and lack of love about how not only do Pastors (as a whole) do not care about "Associate Ministers/Pastors" in church but also how church members in the pew don?t care either.

William Howard

commented on Nov 17, 2015

Seems you have not been under Holy Ghost filled Pastors. Why pen a book on what is addressed in scripture. God's Pastors understand their duty to teach / equip young preachers. (Notice I said God's Pastors)

Bruce Jacobs

commented on Aug 9, 2019

So sorry you have had this experience with the Senior Pastors under whom you've served. My own experience starting out was much different. I was blessed to serve as Associate with a man who was an excellent and experienced preacher in a large and growing church of a mainline denomination. In fact, he had earned his doctorate in Preaching. We offered four primary worship services each weekend; one on Saturday evening and three on Sunday morning. Despite his expertise and obvious superior skill in preaching, he had me preach at all four services one weekend each month, as well as sharing some services on holiday observances such as Christmas Eve. He included me in the planning of sermon series, and encouraged me along the way. So I preached over 50 times a year, for eight years. As the author of this article suggests, the only way to become a preacher is to preach - and my Senior Pastor had the grace and wisdom to allow me that opportunity. I hope my experience is more common than yours has been. I know that I followed the same policy that I learned under with all my Associates over my years as a Senior Pastor myself (I am now retired.) I recommend it strongly.

William Howard

commented on Nov 17, 2015

The first things Pastors must do is look at the preachers life

James Wigton

commented on Nov 17, 2015

It is difficult time-wise to turn over the pulpit to a young man called to preach, especially if you have more than one. However, when I was young, I made arrangements every Sunday afternoon to go preach in different nursing homes. I believed in what I was doing, and that also gave me experience.

Wyatt Timmins

commented on Nov 17, 2015

To the person that wrote..."I am currently writing a book that will expose the hypocrisy and lack of love about how not only do Pastors (as a whole) do not care about "Associate Ministers/Pastors" in church but also how church members in the pew don?t care either"... I do not want to sound mean-spirited in asking this question, however, who exactly will read the book if both the Pastors and the church members already "Don't Care"? Have you considered forgiving those who have offended you this way?

Anonymous

commented on Nov 17, 2015

Hi, thanks for the reply. My goodness, forgiveness was given a long time ago. But what I am writing in the book will shed much light on the subject. Which has not had much, if any, light shed on it at all. Once light is shed on the subject I think church people will want to know more about it. I will be challenging Pastors and church pew members current way of thinking about associate ministers/pastors. Don't forget that how people think will always be manifested in what they do and what they say, even in church. Hopefully, the things I've seen and the experiences I have had in ministry, in the pulpit and interactions with Pastors will be a help to someone.

Wyatt Timmins

commented on Nov 17, 2015

Thank you for not taking my remarks the wrong way...I hope that the Lord allows you to bring life to the situation...it is hard for me to reconcile a book exposing hypocrisy and a lack of love in the church bringing life to a situation...I was thinking a book with solutions to the problem (with perhaps some examples of the problem) would do much more for the Church at large than simply 'exposing' a lack of love in the Church...that is the type of things that Church-haters love to point to. In any event, God's wisdom and blessing upon your work.

William Howard

commented on Nov 17, 2015

My earlier post did not come through. Leaders have a job to do. Now, dealing with the subject / title of this post, I submit to us that more than a preachers desire or ability to preach must be considered. 1) Are you saved? Not saved then not qualified to handle the Word of God. Speaking ability, degrees

Rufus Samuel

commented on Nov 17, 2015

Article is very much relevant to the context. The associates/ assistant Pastors should receive holistic training. Most of the senior Pastor are not aware to do this. Though the associates/ assistant pastors get opportunity to preach, there will not be any constructive critic from senior pastors side.

Ryan Rodriguez

commented on Nov 17, 2015

I would like to comment. Pastors have much to be concerned with when it comes to sharing the pulpit with other preachers.

Lafern Cobb

commented on Nov 18, 2015

This whole article and the following comments are just sad. In fact why would Sermon Central even publish an article that is only relevant to a specific denomination? ,

Stephen Belokur

commented on Nov 18, 2015

Grace and peace from God our Father to those who serve as pastors. Before allowing anyone to fill a pulpit there should be a time of observing the spirit and attitude of the person who may or may not have made a request to preach. Do they yearn to speak God's Holy Word or do they wish to be in the "spotlight". A great deal of damage can come to the body of Christ when a person with an "I'll tell them all where they're wrong" attitude is allowed to preach. It is a humbling and fearful honor to preach the Word of God as we will be held accountable not only for our words but our attitudes and our life when not in the pulpit. A young (or old) heart yearning to preach the Word will present a holy and humble life for consideration. Such an example would be the young man (or woman) who went to nursing homes to preach whenever possible. Thank you Jesus for the honor of preaching. Keep us all from error and pride. Blessings to all in the name of Jesus! PTL!!

Lafern Cobb

commented on Nov 18, 2015

Thank you for your comments. Finally a humble voice who understands how fearful and wonderful it is to be a Pastor.

Lafern Cobb

commented on Nov 18, 2015

Thank you for your comments. Finally a humble voice who understands how fearful and wonderful it is to be a Pastor.

Margo Carr

commented on Nov 18, 2015

For those who are called to preach, don't limit yourself to the pulpit. Every street corner is a pulpit, the world is a big place. It's time to come out of the four walls. There are pastors who encourage other ministers in their local assembly and I happen to have one who does. I sure hope those men in the article who spent 10 years in seminary had other opportunities to preach outside their local assembly. Everybody is not called to preach in the "pulpit".

William Douglas Johnson, Sr

commented on Dec 3, 2015

I want to give credit to the senior pastor I work with and say he is one of the most generous men of God, when it comes to giving opportunities to stand in the pulpit. He does Sunday mornings messages and I will do Sunday evenings. I know many churches no longer hold service on Sunday evenings. We do. I have filled in several times for the AM service, he's out of town, sick, doing other preaching, since he is former pastor of other churches. What a pleasure and blessing to work with a man who shares the duties, responsibilities, and call to follow in the footsteps of our Master Teacher/Preacher.

Delwyn Campbell

commented on Aug 9, 2019

The Lutherans deal with this question in a simple way. From the Augsburg Confession, Article XIV: [XIV. Concerning Church Government] Concerning church government, it is taught that no one should publicly teach, preach, or administer the sacraments without a proper [public] call. Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 46. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession explains this article as follows: [XIV: Church Order] [1] Article fourteen, in which we say that no one should be allowed to administer the Word and the sacraments unless they are duly called, they accept with the proviso that we use canonical ordination. Concerning this subject we have frequently testified in the assembly that it is our greatest desire to retain the order of the church and the various ranks in the church—even though they were established by human authority.389 We know that church discipline in the manner described by the ancient canons was instituted by the Fathers for a good and useful purpose. [2] However, the bishops compel our priests either to reject and to condemn the kind of doctrine that we have confessed, or by new and unheard cruelty they kill the unfortunate and innocent people. This prevents our priests from acknowledging such bishops. Thus the cruelty of the bishops is the reason for the abolition of canonical order in some places despite our earnest desire to retain it. Let the bishops ask themselves how they will give an answer to God for breaking up the church. [3] We have clear consciences on this matter since we know that our confession is true, godly, and catholic. For this reason, we dare not approve the cruelty of those who persecute this doctrine. [4] We know that the church exists among those who rightly teach the Word of God and rightly administer the sacraments; it does not exist among those who not only try to destroy the Word of God with their edicts, but who also butcher those who teach what is right and true. Even the canons are gentler with those who violate them. [5] Moreover, we want to point out again that we would willingly retain ecclesiastical and canonical order as long as the bishops desisted from their cruelty against our churches. This willingness will be our defense, both before God and among all nations, present and future, against the charge that we have undermined the authority of the bishops. Thus people may read and hear that, despite our protest against the unjust cruelty of the bishops, we could obtain no justice. Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 222–223. Luther and the early reformers after him respected the history of the Church, unlike those who disbelieved the Lord's promise that "the Gates of hell would not prevail" against His Church and sought to reinvent it in their own image.

Delwyn Campbell

commented on Aug 9, 2019

When God has called you to preach, He calls you through the local congregation that you are called to serve. Christ works through the Church, which is His Bride, to preach His Gospel. He has but one Bride. THAT'S how we, the Church, know that God has called you - He uses us to do so.

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