By Van A. Reaves
From time to time every congregation of the Lord’s church will need to hire a gospel preacher. Yet many congregations do not know exactly what to look for. Most, if not all, of the ones I have been familiar with place the burden of their expectations on experience. The Bible on the other hand places emphasis elsewhere.
I cannot find a single instance of a man or woman being great because of their experience, but rather because of their faith in God. Let us look at a few examples. One great deed was the destruction of Jericho (Josh. 6). Joshua did not depend on his own combat strategy, but rather on God. While David was too young to fight in the armies of Israel he slew Goliath, the gigantic champion of the Philistines (1 Sam. 17) because he had faith in God.
Many, many more are mentioned in Heb. 11. Some young, some old, some knew wealth, some poverty, some experienced, and some with no experience at all. But each and everyone of them had the essential element; faith.
We have already shown many men who had faith, but little or no experience. So now visualize a man (you may know one) with a great deal of experience but little or no faith. Brethren, we have placed emphasis in the wrong place. Faith must be our prime concern. Experience is indeed an important thing. It is not the purpose of this article to deny that fact. It is simply to emphasize the importance of the essential attribute; faith.
In the future when we are looking for a preacher, let us remember these scriptures:
“. . . this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
“. . . with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
The Bible gives many examples of men who were great, but I cannot name a single one who was great because of his experience. The thing that a preacher needs most is faith. We cannot please God, no matter how experienced, nor can we do His work to His satisfaction without total dependence in Him.
Youth nor age makes or breaks a preacher. Experience nor lack of experience makes or breaks a preacher. But if a man depends on God’s help he can overcome any problem that might arise.
Truth Magazine, XX:12, p. 13
March 18, 1976