Book 'Em

Connie W. Adams
Louisville, Kentucky

No, I am not talking about a suspect being arrested and charged with some offense. I am talking about young preachers who are not being used as fully as they could be.

Many things have changed in the last few years, including the opportunities a young preacher has to circulate among brethren, conduct gospel meetings and gain invaluable experience that will help him throughout his life as a preacher of the gospel. Several years ago, even as late as twenty years ago when I was still a college student, an older preacher could recommend a young man for a meeting or two and the brethren would have him come. I will always be grateful to Harry Pickup, Sr., who, in 1950 wrote to a small country congregation where he had been several times and suggested to the brethren that they have me come for a meeting that summer. Even though the brethren forgot about it and thus were surprised when I arrived and announced "Well, I'm the preacher," word got around and by the time for the first service the house was full and children had to sit around my feet on the platform. In spite of nearly losing my voice, and the fact that I forgot to take a single tie (and nearly wore out one loaned me by a brother), we had a good meeting. Some brethren visited there during the meeting from another state, and they arranged for me to be invited there for a meeting later. So it started and has never stopped, one meeting begets another. This was a great help in many ways. Cecil Willis and others our age (in all fairness he is slightly younger than I) had similar experiences especially during the summers of college work.

But things have changed. It is now very difficult for a young preacher to be used by brethren in this way. This is a shame. One of the bright spots I see in some of my preaching travels is the presence of some exceptionally bright and talented young men. They are well informed, highly intelligent, articulate, godly in life, anxious to preach the word "in season and out of season," highly idealistic and very much in touch with what is going on in the present world. Many of them are much better informed than some of the older preachers as to current trends in religious thought and practice. They are in a unique position to be especially helpful to perplexed young people facing unbelievable problems and pressures in our modem world. They are the spiritual warriors of the future.

But many of these young men are not being used as they could be. Brethren have a tendency to invite for meetings only those preachers who have either been there before or who are known to do a lot of meeting work. It is my considered opinion that many congregations would be greatly helped by calling on these brethren, not just to "do them a favor" and let them "practice" on them, but in order to strengthen the work by taking advantage of the knowledge and ability of these young men. I am not about to start naming some of them in this article, for I do not know all of them, but there are some I do know and would not hesitate, to recommend. Perhaps there is a young man who is doing good work from your area or even from the congregation where you attend. Not only do they need the experience, but you need the instruction, enthusiasm and worthy example they can bring to the work. They might even be able to inspire some of your young men to devote their lives to gospel preaching. When you start looking around for a preacher for your next meeting, why not consider some of these young men and Book 'em!

November 25, 1971