Vol.XX No.X Pg.3
December 1983

Support Your Preacher

Dan S. Shipley

Yes, there are many preachers who need a raise. In some places they are not receiving adequate support from the local church. Some even suffer as a result. Now, before you take exception or reach for your pocketbook, let me assure you that I am not talking about a raise in pay (though that may be needed too). There is another kind of support preachers need that is no less important or needful than the financial. It is moral support. It is the kind Webster's unabridged defines in part as, "to uphold by aid, encouragement, or countenance; to keep from fainting, sinking, failing, or declining; as, to support the courage or spirits" and, "to assist; to further; to forward; to second; to aid; to help; as, to support a friend or party." That's the kind of support your preacher needs.

However, that's the kind many have been denied, especially young preachers. That's why, provided he is doing the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5), the preacher needs a "raise" in appreciation. Not for personal aggrandizement, but for his work's sake; not as "clergy," but as a true fellow-worker dedicated to advancing the cause of Christ. If he teaches and lives truth, in all things showing himself an ensample of good works (Titus 2:7), then why is he so often tried and found wanting by such trivial standards? Such as his lack of an outgoing personality or being different from the previous preacher? Why are his lessons evaluated in terms of oratory, grammar, and length rather than content? (Most appreciate a good speaker, but few are willing to put up with his efforts to become one.)

In preparing the Corinthians to receive a young preacher, Paul writes, "Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear; for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do: let no man therefore despise him" (1 Cor. 16:10,11). Timothy wasn't Paul. But he was doing the Lord's work, as was Paul and as are all other faithful gospel preachers. That being the case, why should they have to fear the brethren? Why should brethren despise them (treat with contempt)?

Further, because preachers, as other Christians, do have differing personalities and temperaments; because they make mistakes, they need support in the coin of longsuffering. When preachers err, especially the younger ones, what they don't need is an advertising committee to exploit their faults. They do need understanding and longsuffering brethren to correct and help in a spirit of love (1 Cor. 13:4). Try to think how you would react if this young preacher were your own son. It is discouraging for a Timothy to be measured by the standard of a Paul; the beginner cannot function as a veteran — and should not be expected to.

Finally, your preacher could probably use a raise in encouragement. Not flattery; not insincere compliments (like commending a sermon you have slept through); not necessarily in words of commendation at all. Tell him you're behind him. Tell him you are praying for him. Then, if he is doing a good work, tell him. Support him. It will lift him up — and he does need the raise.