By Johnie Edwards
A lot of preachers that I know have left full-time preaching to do other things! There are some factors that brethren need to know that contribute to a good number gospel preachers leaving full-time work.
Poor Attitude Toward The Work of A Preacher
Some churches look upon the preacher as but a hired hand. In fact, while teaching a Bible class during a gospel meeting, a member referred to preachers as hired hands. This disturbs me, for the Bible never refers to a gospel preacher as a hired hand. He is called an evangelist (Acts 21:8); a minister (1 Tim. 4:6), a preacher (1 Tim. 2:7), but never a hired hand! Too many, I am afraid, think only of the work of a gospel preacher as one being hired to do much of the work that they need to be doing.
Lack Of Personal Concern
Many times a preacher moves his family to a new area where he knows no one. He is in a strange place, away from his own family and he gets lonesome. You see, the members know each other, many are near their own families and they just forget about the preacher. The members get together for family gatherings and the preacher is not usually included. One preacher told me that he and his family were out sick for a couple of weeks and not one person called to check on them. This seldom happens to most families. Young preachers especially need to be shown more personal care than most church are willing to show. When Paul said, “but that the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25), this includes the preacher and his family!
Taking The Preacher For Granted
There are some churches without preachers because they took their preacher for granted. They knew he was always there and always did his work, so they just sort of forgot about him. The members never invite him to their homes for a meal or other gatherings they might have, so the preacher gets to thinking that nobody cares. A preacher might put out a bulletin for a number of years, study hard, preach good sermons, write newspaper articles, do a radio broadcast, teach classes, make Bible class material, do the work of an evangelist and go for weeks, months or even years without one single person saying, “I like the bulletin,” or “I think you are doing a good job,” or “If I can be of any help, be sure to let me know” or some gesture that lets the preacher know that you are really behind and are supportive of the work he is doing. Preachers are very human and need encouragement as does everyone else. What about taking the time to show some appreciation of yours?
The Lack of Financial Security
A lot of good preachers have been forced out of full-time preaching due to the lack of financial support for their needs and security for their later years. A lot of preachers don’t mention this because brethren are sometimes quick to judge the motives of the preacher as “just preaching for money.” A man can work in a factory for 35 years and end up with $75,000.000 to $100,000.00 or more in retirement benefits while a preacher may preach that long and not even have a rent receipt. Most preachers are not paid enough to allow them to save for retirement. We must remember that “the laborer is worthy of his hire” (Lk. 10:7). We would do well to think on these things and make whatever amends we need to.
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 2, p. 51
January 15, 1987