Recently, while going through a desk drawer that serves as a kind of “catch all,” I found a little notebook in which I had made several notes relating to preachers, preaching, and leadership in the church. Since a number of elders, deacons, and preachers receive these “News & Views” I thought it might be interesting to share some of the notes I had made. There is no date associated with any of them, and they were obviously jotted down many years ago. I present them here in no particular order of importance, just some random notes that I recorded at different times over the years.
E. A. Elam, a great preacher and writer, said that he wanted inscribed on his tombstone: “He shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God.”
“Compliments are like perfume… they are made to be smelled and not swallowed.” (I recall hearing my great teacher and good friend, G. K. Wallace, say that on more than one occasion.)
It takes three people to get married—a man, a woman, and God. (Some think it takes only two—a girl and her mother!)
It is dangerous to marry a non-Christian. (I believe it was Roy Deaver who added to that and said, “Yes, but it is dangerous to marry…period!” He, of course, was being faceitious.)
A short man standing by a tall man remarked, “I feel like a dime standing by a nickel.” (I recall hearing Carroll Ellis say that when standing between Willard Collins and perhaps Batsell Barrett Baxter. He said he felt like a dime standing between two nickels.)
“The word ‘must’ is still in the Bible.” (Willard Collins during a meeting at the Fairlane Church of Christ in Shelbyville, Tennessee in the early 1980s.)
Gus Nichols was known for preaching long sermons. Someone said that brother Gus’ favorite verse was: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort…” (Acts 2:40).
Brother Nichols sometimes preached a sermon titled “The Bible.” He would make an acrostic of the word BIBLE and proceed to make the following points:
B – Buy a Bible
I – Investigate the Bible
B – Believe the Bible
L – Love the Bible
E – Exemplify the Bible
Advice for preachers: 1) A preacher ought to study God’s word, reading it and memorizing it. (One preacher quoted the verse “Jesus wept.” A man in the audience who knew little about the Bible but who wanted others to think that he did spoke up and said, “He shore did!”) 2) A preacher ought to learn the value of a dollar. 3) A preacher ought to keep his hands off the girls and women.
The son of a gospel preacher said: “Daddy carried a lot of men’s secrets to his grave.”
A statistician is a person who says if you have one foot in a bucket of boiling water and the other foot in a bucket of ice water that on the average you are comfortable!
The bottleneck is at the top of the bottle. The bottleneck in the local church is at the top—in the leadership.
We need a check-up from the neck up!
Characteristics of great leaders: 1) Knowledge of the Bible, 2) Faith, 3) Optimism (don’t need a “grasshopper complex” in the leadership of the church), 4) Vision (where do we want our members to be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, five years from now?). Identify some concrete goals for the members of the congregation.
Deacons do what is “inspected” of them. In other words, they need to be held accountable for the work they have been appointed to do.
The book of Judges reveals that as goes the leadership so go the people.
The late Ira North named six things necessary to having “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3): 1) Prayer, 2) Work, 3) Watchfulness, 4) A solid pulpit, 5) Stability, 6) Love.
Communication with others is what develops the human nature. Helen Keller was not very human until communication was established.
Communication with God (prayer and Bible reading/study) is what develops the divine nature.
Communication can treat people as victims, computers, objects, audiences, or persons.
Preachers often conclude their sermons with something like: “If you are here and need to…” A member, in turn, might be tempted to say to the preacher: “If I am here? Where do you think I am? Why don’t you ask, ‘If you are still awake?’ ”!
Some are wise, some are otherwise.
March 9, 2021