Category Archives for Pastors

A Word to Young Preachers about Pride

May 6, 2016

Dr. David Allen | Dean of the School of Theology
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

**This article was previously posted by Dr. David L. Allen on his website www.drdavidlallen.com and is used by permission. 

Dr. Allen is: Dean of the School of Theology, Professor of Preaching, Director of the Center for Expository Preaching, and George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Learn more about Dr. Allen, HERE.
Follow @DavidLAllen on Twitter HERE.
Follow on Facebook HERE.

NOTE: This post is slightly revised from David L. Allen, 1-3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family, in Preaching the Word, R. Kent Hughes, ed. (Wheaton: IL, 2013), 275-77.

If you are in a leadership position in someone’s church, and especially if you are a pastor, let me offer a salient word of warning: Don’t become a Diotrephes who loves to be first. We all know preachers who are too big for their britches. You know the type. In the extreme, this is the guy who can strut sitting down. He exudes arrogance, either in the pulpit, outside the pulpit, or both. Joseph Parker, contemporary of Spurgeon, painted the picture of the prideful person in unforgettable prose: “Here is a little contemptible person who stuffs the unworthy sack, which he calls himself, with the shavings and sawdust of his own self interest.”

Probably for must preachers, however, our pride is not that extreme, but it is pride nonetheless. The Scripture has much to say about pride. Pride caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. Pride caused Adam and Eve to sin and be cast out of the garden. It brought down prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament. It kept many a Pharisee and Sadducee out of heaven in Jesus’ day. It caused Pilate to wash his hands concerning Jesus of Nazareth.

Pride goes before a fall the Scripture says. Of the seven things God says he hates, first on the list is pride (Proverbs 6:16–19). There are few sins as destructive as pride. The Latin word for pride is “superbia” which means “aspiring to be on top.” More than one preacher has been brought low by pride. Only God is on top.

Like John, from the early church through today, preachers have warned their fellow preachers about pride. John Chrysostom (the “golden mouthed”) called pride the chief sin of preachers. He concluded his rhetorically powerful list of sins with the memorable line: “. . . all these and many other kinds of beasts dwell upon that rock of pride.”

Don’t miss Spurgeon’s chapters “The Minister’s Self-Watch” and “The Minister’s Fainting Fits” in his Lectures to My Students. In the latter, Spurgeon pungently states: “Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are.” Andrew Blackwood, the great homiletician, once stated that among preachers, “pride still remains Soul Enemy Number One.”

C. S. Lewis said concerning pride: “There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves the more we dislike it in others.” When we are genuinely humble, we should beware lest Satan smuggle the thought of our own humility into our mind.

Preachers especially must guard against vainglory and false modesty, which is just another form of pride. Beware when pride shows up in the guise of humility. Leave it to Mark Twain to cleverly drive this point home: “If I ever achieve humility, I’ll sure be proud of it.”

The worm of pride is ever threatening to eat into the fruit of the Spirit in your life. The poison of pride ever sits inconspicuously on life’s shelf. Sometimes it takes very little to puff up these proud preacher hearts of ours. A little success, a little prosperity, and we are ready to burn incense to our own accomplishments. Let the world bestow on us a few of its flatteries and we are ready to throw in our lot with it.

Pride is ever beside you in the crowded highway and the lonely street. It follows you to the office, to the pulpit and back home again. It dogs your footsteps when you go to church, kneels beside you when you pray, and whispers in your ear while you preach. It assaults your every relationship; your every sacrifice; and every sermon. It is your constant companion, arriving early and staying late. It never leaves you night and day ‘till death do you part. Pride is the hound of hell that can only be defeated by the hound of heaven.

The fact is, most of us just don’t like to humble ourselves. It’s not in our nature. But the Lord knows how to balance our lives. He will allow almost anything to prevent spiritual pride and to quash it when it rears its ugly head in our lives. James reminds us to “humble ourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). Continue reading

Learning To Preach

January 20, 2016

Randy Adams | Executive Director
Northwest Baptist Convention

**This article was previously posted by Randy Adams on his website randyadams.org and is used by permission. 

Last week I spent a few days with Baptist leaders serving in the Western part of the United States. Something that we all agreed upon was the huge need for more pastors. As I have written before, our first great need in the Northwest is not for more churches as that would be “putting the cart before the horse.” More churches, and more pastors for our existing churches, will happen as we identify more God-called men, set them apart as ministry leaders, and equip them for pastoral ministry.

As we talked about the need for more pastors, someone mentioned that churches provide fewer opportunities to “learn to preach” than they once did because of the decline of Sunday and Wednesday evening services. It is difficult for the senior pastor to give a novice preacher an opportunity on Sunday morning.

So how does a fellow learn to preach? Let me suggest a few things. First, teach a weekly Bible study class. If you have a man who is showing interest in preaching, assign him a class to teach. Or, better yet, challenge him to start a new class. It was through teaching Sunday school and a college Bible study that God called me to preach. I didn’t learn sermon delivery by teaching the class, but it got me into the Word, wrestling with the text, and learning how to apply it to the high schoolers and college students I was teaching.

Second, preach in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Nearly every small town has a retirement facility and these provide multiple opportunities for ministry, including a preaching ministry. When the question, “Where did you learn to preach?” was asked in my meeting last week, my immediate response was, “In a nursing home.” For two years I preached monthly in a nursing home. That may be why I’m not easily offended when someone falls asleep on me! Seriously, in the nursing home I learned to identify who was listening and responding. I learned to visit with the folks, looking them in the eye, listen to them, and love on them. And I learned how to prepare a message. I clearly remember the occasion when I addressed them as “you guys,” knowing that didn’t sound right. After the service an old gentlemen told me that “you guys” wasn’t very respectful when addressing “old people.” Lesson learned. The next time it was “Ya’ll.”

Third, ask your pastor to teach you the basics of sermon preparation and delivery. Nothing helps you learn to preach more than doing it, but an experienced preacher can help you to work in the right direction. A few meetings with an experienced preacher can be of great benefit. Also, get a basic text on preaching. One that is short and simple is best. A young preacher needs to learn the basics of biblical interpretation. He needs to learn to identify the central idea of the text. Then he needs to learn how to explain, illustrate, and apply the text.

Fourth, take a class on preaching. One is beginning at Mill Park Baptist Church in Portland at the end of January. I’ll be teaching a class at the Vancouver campus of Golden Gate Seminary in the fall of 2015. Online seminary classes are also available through Golden Gate.

In the Northwest we need more preachers, especially those who can serve as bi-vocational pastors. We need more preachers, and, yes, we need more churches, many more. We have about 450 NWBC churches. If we had the same number of churches per person as they have in Mississippi, we’d have 8,000 churches. If we had the same number as Oklahoma we’d have about 5,000 churches. The reason the South has been called “the Bible best” is because they have a high density of churches, and thus they have far more who attend a church. Whoever has the most churches wins. But to have more churches, and more healthy churches, we must have more preachers.

Continue reading

Where Do You Draw The Line?

October 27, 2015

Leighton Flowers | Professor of Theology
Dallas, TX

**This article was previously posted by Leighton Flowers on his website www.soteriology101.com and is used by permission.

Leighton is: teaching pastor in his local church, an adjunct Professor of Theology, and the Youth Evangelism Director for Texas Baptists.

Learn more about Leighton, HERE.
Follow @soteriology101 on Twitter HERE.
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I recently received this question from a loyal listener, who also happens to be a pastor:

“Professor Flowers, I greatly appreciate the cordiality with which you approach our differences with the Calvinistic brethren, but I have a specific concern.  You often speak of not wishing to “run off the Calvinists” or “kick them out of the convention,” and typically I’m in full agreement with this sentiment, as I have good Calvinistic brethren in my own church who I want to stay actively involved.  But, the Calvinists I’ve been use to in the SBC are those like David Platt or Matt Chandler, who regularly affirm God’s universal love and sincere desire for everyone to come to repentance and faith (they don’t try to reinterpret John 3:16, 1 Tim. 2:4 or 2 Peter 3:9, etc).

But, this new “young restless and reformed” (neo-Calvinism) we are seeing rise up seems set on redefining “whosoever will” by making “the world” out to mean “the world of the elect”…Or “God’s desire for all” to be “God’s desire for all kinds.”  (BTW, I love the quote from Spurgeon you read debunking that interpretation of 1 Tim 2:4).

This brings me to my question.  Where do we draw the line?  With the ‘moderate’ Calvinistic teachers in my church, those who affirm God’s love and desire for all, the typical layperson doesn’t even notice their Calvinism (unless they know what to look for).  I really don’t have too much beef with these kind of Calvinists.  But the harsher, higher form of Calvinism seems to be seeping into my church. I cannot in good conscience allow for people to teach that God doesn’t really love all people and desire for their salvation.  I have to draw the line somewhere and I’m not waiting for hyper anti-evangelism to draw it, I think I must draw it at the denial of God’s universal love and desire.  What do you think?”

This is a great question and one I have had to grapple with myself. I certainly believe respect and cordiality must extend to all types of Calvinists, but I do not think it unwise to “draw the line” at requiring teachers to affirm God’s universal love and desire for every individual. If the church has a Statement of Faith which affirms this clear biblical teaching (as does the BF&M), then it is the pastor’s responsibility to ensure that all teachers hold to that standard. Continue reading