I’m not using prophet or priest in the full biblical sense. I appreciate the terminology though as it is easier to remember than the terms I’ve used to teach this same point in the past (so thank you Dave Stone for mentioning this in your seminar in Cambridge):
1. Younger preachers have a tendency to try to be a prophet. They can be full of zeal and just want to give the bottom line, they want to say it like it is. God can and does use young preachers with hard-hitting messages (George Verwer comes to mind, who founded Operation Mobilization as a teenager). However, it is worth pointing out to young preachers that people also need a priest. As Haddon Robinson says, “for every ‘you jerk!’ you need ten ‘atta boys!’”
2. Older preachers have a tendency to stay as a pastor and priest. Having lived the life and built the credibility, some more established preachers hold back from preaching the strong messages people need to hear. If you’ve lived the life, walked the trail with the Lord for many decades, and if it is the message of the text, then preach it! Don’t always hold back and protect feelings.
3. People need both “prophet” and “priest.” Whatever age or stage you are at as a preacher, remember that people are people. They need comforting, challenging, encouragement and exhortation. People need the tender care and the tough love of the Great Pastor, so as we preach His Word, let us be sensitive to both the “prophet” and the “priest” elements. Know the needs of the people and preach the Word!