By Michael McClary
(Brother McClary is one of the elders of the Ellettsville church.)
Preacher training is nothing new for the Ellettsville, Indiana church of Christ. Brother W.H. Krutsinger lived, preached, and taught a preacher training school in Ellettsville in the 1800s. He edited a religious paper called The Ancient Landmarks. We have a copy of volume one, number one, dated September 1879. This preacher training program was conducted for about twenty-five years and a good number of preachers came from this school, including such men as A.G. Freed, later of Freed-Hardeman College; W.M. Davis, long-time front page editor of the Firm Foundation; and Fred Rowe, publisher of the Christian Leader, to name just a few.
A Complete Program
The Preacher Training Program at Ellettsville is a very complete program. It is designed to teach young men how to study, memorize, deliver lessons and sermons, do funerals and weddings, do research on various religious topics and begin a library and filing system. The program is lead by Johnie Edwards and his son, Johnie Paul Edwards. Many of you already know that these two men are two of the best preachers in the country and both are in demand for meeting work all over the country. They have the knowledge, zeal and patience to handle this type of preacher training. We at the Ellettsville church love and appreciate them very much and give them our heartfelt thanks for all the work they do. The training program is the most helpful tool any young man could receive who is interested in proclaiming God’s word. It is not only essential for the men in the program, but it is also very good for the local church here in Ellettsville. Here are some reasons why:
Strengthens The Local Church
When we hear how many hours of hard work these men put into learning God’s word, it makes us work harder to learn. These young men, and we had a dozen of them in 1993 and have ten in the 1994 session, study hard and it is great to see them develop so rapidly. The program helps all of us “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord” (2 Pet. 3:18).
Encourages Other Young Men
Knowing how hard all the men in the program work encourages the local church to do the same. As Joshua was “encouraged and strengthened,” so are we (Deut. 3:28). It sure is encouraging to a local church to see a young man grow from hardly being able to stand before a group, to speaking the truth with zeal and poise.
The Need For Gospel Preachers
The program helps the local church see the need for gospel preachers. There is a great shortage of good, sound, gospel preachers today. We need to help men to be able to say, as did the apostle Paul, “so, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel ” (Rom. 1:15). Men must be ready to preach and our program does that very thing. Our young men preach about every week in the area. They were afforded a rare opportunity of preaching in a gospel meeting last year, and more are planned for 1994. Hardly a week goes by without a local congregation who needs a gospel preacher calling.
Helps In Converting The Lost
The young men preach here at Ellettsville different times when brother Edwards is away preaching in gospel meetings. They have been taught to always teach the plan of salvation at the close of every sermon. This enables folks the opportunity of learning what to do to be saved. Romans 10:13-17 teaches that preaching, hearing, believing and obeying are essential to being saved. The young men do this so very well.
Encourages The Local Church
The fact that we have so many young men interested in preaching and doing the Lord’s will sets a good example for others. It has had a good effect on a number of other young people. The church, where the young men preached in a gospel meeting recently, saw a profound influence on the young people as well as the older ones in the church. There is still power in good influence (Matt. 5:13-16). Christian living is taught by these preachers, not only in the preaching but by their lives. Many of these young men are still in high school or work full time, yet, still find the time to study and do all the work demanded by our Preacher Training Program. We are thankful to God for all of this work.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 8, p. 5
April 21, 1994