This week I am pondering how we might pursue improvement in our preaching ministries. We’ve thought about training and time. Today let’s talk about other people. (If you want to see the poll on LinkedIn, click here. There is also a poll on the Facebook page here.)
Preachers need preachers for mutual encouragement – As I wrote recently, preaching can be a lonely experience. Preparation tends to be done alone. After preaching preachers would often rather be alone. But is a ministry of preaching a commitment to lots of solitude? Yes and no. It would be wrong to lose sight of the need of the body of Christ for everyone in it, including those who preach. Having fellowship with those who understand and care makes a big difference.
I would encourage every preacher to be involved in, or to organize, a gathering of preachers for mutual encouragement and resourcing. Not a venue for egos, or for pyramid climbing, or for conflict. But a venue for genuine heart to heart fellowship and support. Is there one in your community? There is value in sharing with other preachers outside your church. I have been involved in a ministry that seeks to launch preachers clubs around the world – where these have worked, the ministry has been greatly blessed. Gatherings of preachers meeting every month or two and working on a passage of Scripture as well as praying for each other – valuable, to say the least. Having a local preachers’ group is great. Even better, is there one in your church? Surely we should all be looking to build up others and mentor others, so why not develop a preacher’s gathering within your church?
Preachers need people for encouragement as well as feedback – Listeners tend to fall into three categories. One is the listener who never communicates with the preacher other than being polite. Another is the listener who only communicates critique (either directly or through asides). The final category is the listener who genuinely looks to encourage the preacher. People in this last category are worth their weight in gold. Finding people who will pray for the preaching ministry, and encourage the preacher, and advocate for the preacher, etc., is not easy. Yet when people in this category offer feedback, it is so much more palatable.
I don’t want to slip off into discussing issues of feedback. I want to recognize the need for encouragement, just as all people, in all ministries, need some encouragement. Doing ministry does draw down on our resources. We look to God for empowerment, but He chooses to give us strength, in part, through the proper functioning of the body of Christ. I don’t know how to let your listeners know that you need this, perhaps you should accidentally send a link to this post (or maybe an appropriate moment of vulnerability in a message might help).
For what it’s worth, I’ll offer the results of the poll in the short post tomorrow.