Summary: A sermon encouraging young men to be preachers of the gospel. Based on the Just One Challenge of Matthew 9:35-38
The minister’s sermon on this particular Sunday was considerably longer than normal. However, it was so well prepared and inspiring that he just knew it would be a big hit with the congregation. At the end of the service he stood shaking hands with the people as they exited. One man paused and said, “Preacher, your sermon was so invigorating and inspiring and refreshing.” As the minister broke out in a big smile, the man completed his comment by adding, “Why I felt like a new man when I woke up!”
Preaching is considered of little importance by many today.
The National Missionary Convention (http://www.nationalmissionaryconvention.org/) is at the end of this week in Lexington, Kentucky. In connection with this gathering, many leaders of the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ are calling for a 10 year emphasis on praying, recruiting, training and sending church planters to all corners of the globe. During the 90’s there was a movement among our brotherhood to try to reach as many people as possible with the gospel by the new Millennium. During this emphasis Some strides were made to plant churches, to work on meeting the needs of missionaries, and to recruit enough missionaries to make up for those who would retire. During the time of this emphasis, the National Missionary Convention seemed to grow as well. Today there is a call to go beyond what was done during the 90’s and to not just recruit enough missionaries to replace those retiring, but to send out even more missionaries to go into new fields. This emphasis is being called Restoration Revolution. (http://www.restorationrevolution.com/)
What can we do to help in this effort? Pray. To help facilitate prayer in this regard, all of the Bible college/ university and seminary Presidents of our brotherhood have joined together and are initiating the Just One Challenge (http://www.justonechallenge.org/). The Just One Challenge is to pray for one more worker for the harvest field. But not just one more worker, one more preacher/ evangelist/ missionary from our midst that will lead the charge to plant churches to reach the world for Christ.
We might expect leaders of Bible colleges to be in the forefront of this challenge. “We have heard this for years for them so we are not going to take this seriously.” Let me say this, these Presidents are concerned because there are fewer and fewer students who are interested in being preachers/ missionaries/ church planters who are enrolled at their colleges. This concerns them and it should also concern us. All of these colleges were formed to train preachers but students now are not interested.
Now Davon what we need are more Christians, we don’t really need more preachers? Yes, we do need more people who claim the name of Christ and actually strive to live for Him. However, who is going to lead the charge to see that this happens? Romans 10:14-15: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Thesis: Let’s talk about the hardships, the joys and the rewards of being a preacher.
There are some who think that being a preacher is an easy life. There are some who think being a preacher is a hard life. At different times and seasons one is more true than the other. I want to give an honest picture. It is not pie in the sky. Every career has its down side.
Sometimes the hardships are from spiritual sources. We are talking about persecution.
In one sense the persecution is the same as everyone else. 2 Timothy 3:12 says everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. I don’t want to belly ache about the persecution I have experienced, because all of us have experienced in some form.
In another sense the persecution is worse for those in Christian leadership, of whom the preacher is a part. Looking at the book of Acts we see that those in Christian leadership were singled out- the apostles, the missionaries, the elders and deacons- to make an example of them. In the Civil War, the officers were singled out. The enemy soldiers fixed their sights upon them. Same way it is with the devil and his tactics. Strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered, Jesus said. IMportant for the congregation to pray for leadership
There is a level of sacrifice that is required to be a preacher/ evangelist/ missionary. Wayne Smith preached at a large church in Kentucky for many years. From the outside it appears that he lived an easy life. I don’t know. I heard a talk by him at the National Youth Leaders Convention on “Playing Hurt.” “What does he know about that topic?” Seems like a lot because it was a powerful lesson and many times he showed great emotion.