Peter wrote to a church facing difficult times. In the last chapter of his first epistle, he gives some important advice for leaders in the church (1Peter 5:1-4). His warnings and advice are critical for preachers:
Not under compulsion, but willingly – Remember that preaching, as well as all other elements of leadership, is a privilege. It is easy when tired or over-busy to start feeling pressured rather than privileged. Perhaps it’s time to pray this through?
Not for shameful gain, but eagerly – Just because you are a preacher, it does not make you exempt from the common temptations of humanity. This includes materialism and greed. Be careful. This temptation can creep in insidiously and become a motivation in ministry choices. At all costs, seek to have an eager attitude to ministry, rather than a grabby attitude to money.
Not domineering, but as an example – Perhaps you are not struggling with pressure or plunder, but be careful of the power (where did that alliteration come from? Feel free to use it if you like that sort of thing!) It is easy to wield excessive influence in the lives of your listeners. Rather, seek to maintain a Christlike exemplary influence.
And after the willing, eager, exemplary service comes the thing that is designed to motivate – the crown of glory! (Or prize, I suppose, if you’re following through on the P’s!)
Helpful warnings for leaders, including us preachers. Feel free to ignore the alliteration, I usually do, but let’s take the passage to heart!