Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.8
January 1977

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Many churches now use a portion of the Wednesday night time as a training session for men of the congregation. Young men, and older ones who have been inactive, are asked to prepare and present Bible talks. A few members may object because they dont like the program, but the idea is in keeping with scriptural purpose — to encourage spiritual growth. Its success will be measured by the serious thought and effort we put into it.

Young men are idealists, who see black and white. We should not fault them for that. Be thankful for a new generation, not yet disillusioned, with courage to reach for the stars. It is the striving for perfection, in keeping with our perfect example, that shapes the Christian life. If we can teach these beginners to study Bible ideals, and exhort us to follow, much good will be accomplished.

But the beginner often acts like older preachers who have not studied or developed. He strives for sensational effects; he thinks the pulpit gives license to bull-whip the pew; his pet peeve (Christmas, Easter, or saying Golly!) becomes the cardinal issue of all times. I have heard early teenagers advise the elders. Where did these beginners get such a concept of preaching? Some of it is bluster — to cover embarrassment and the fact that they have nothing prepared to say. And, we should not forget the weight of the examples set before them by older preachers. If we had done our job well — impressing them with our fairness, our concrete knowledge of scriptures, our humility in hiding behind the cross — it is reasonable to think they would try to follow such examples.

Audience response often encourages the wrong things. One boy, with gift of gab, may spiel off a lot of nothing, and be highly complemented. Another, well prepared with scriptural study, may be slow of speech — and is passed with a pat on the shoulder and Youll do better some day! Both should be encouraged and given judicious counsel for improvement.

If the church is to grow spiritually, and fulfill her divine purpose, we must take seriously our work in the training of future teachers. The pulpit is not a glamour spot where stars play their role. It is a platform, elevated for the advantage of the hearers — so they can better follow sound teaching and learn of God.