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  • J. Randal Matheny 2:56 pm on 2017-02-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Preachers,   

    We got clergy in the Lord’s church 

    Ron T. has an excellent article that deserves a close reading, “Dismissing the preacher for a change in direction.”

    What Ron describes is a symptom of a larger problem, it would seem, of treating preachers (and preachers considering themselves) as employees.

    You hear and read it all the time, that a man is a “preacher for” such-and-such congregation. Language betrays. Profound restoration is needed on this point.

    In the 2017 FHU Lectureship book, a contributor wrote about “lay” preachers. Editors let that go.

    What is the opposite of laymen? Clergy.

    • Eugene 3:23 pm on 2017-02-10 Permalink | Reply

      Concerning the FHU writing, do you believe it’s possible the contributor made a poor choice in wording and should have used “vocational” instead?

      • J. Randal Matheny 5:41 pm on 2017-02-10 Permalink | Reply

        Possibly, yes. It was translated into Spanish and the translator, from my incomplete knowledge of that language, chose to use a word meaning “simple,” taking it to mean, apparently, unschooled. But how does such a term insinuate itself into the language of a people who used to fight tooth and toenail the idea of clergy and laity? Many of our preachers and saints do consider the full-time “minister” to be a clergyman, if not in “theology” then in practice. Most churches act like it, too.

        • Eugene Adkins 10:32 am on 2017-02-11 Permalink | Reply

          I thought that might be the case, but I still hear you. It’s much akin to the same way a tie becomes equated to a collar in some eyes.

          • J. Randal Matheny 11:59 am on 2017-02-11 Permalink | Reply

            Ha! Good one. True.

    • James Pasley 4:35 pm on 2017-02-11 Permalink | Reply

      What you have pointed out here is just one more step on the road toward denominationalism. I also read Ron’s article and found it to have a good point. On the other side of the preacher being dismissed to “go a different direction” are the preachers who use smaller congregations as a stepping stone like a hireling so that they can go on to bigger and better things. Many preachers leave a congregation behind not because there is anything wrong with the leadership or outlook of the congregation, but simply to move to a bigger better paying position. There are times on both sides when the preacher or the congregation may want to serve the Lord in a different way or bring in someone who may have some new ideas (in matters of opinion, not doctrine). These things are not necessarily wrong or sinful, but the way it is handled sometimes is.

      • J. Randal Matheny 12:37 pm on 2017-02-13 Permalink | Reply

        James, I have observed from afar what you noted, and hoped that my conclusions were wrong. I saw this happen recently and felt profound sadness.

  • TFRStaff 3:37 pm on 2016-05-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Preachers   

    Hugh’s News & Views (“Who’s Gonna . . .”) 


    In 1985, country music legend George Jones (1931-2013) released a great country song titled “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.” In it the writers, Troy Seals and Max D. Barnes, pay tribute to some of the giants of country music. The song begins: “You know this old world is full of singers, but just a few are chosen to tear your heart out when they sing.” Hauntingly, it proceeds to talk about the Outlaw who walks through Jesse’s dreams, the Red-Headed Stranger, the Man in Black, the Okie from Muskogee, “Hello Darling,” the Boys from Memphis, Blue Suede Shoes, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Charlie, Marty, old Hank, and Lefty. All aficionados of true country music know who these names and descriptive terms refer to. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 2:12 pm on 2015-07-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Preachers   

    Hugh’s News & Views (FEW, Jr) 


    From time to time, I have written about some of the ordinary, everyday Christians I have known through the years who have made a deep impression on me by their exemplary lives. I will continue to write about such people at intervals. At the same time, I also want to write about some very extra-ordinary people I have known (primarily great preachers of the gospel) and why I consider them to be great. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 5:44 am on 2015-05-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Preachers   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Charlie Smith) 


    In my years of endeavoring to preach the gospel of Christ, I have had the privilege of knowing and associating with the finest people on earth. Among these is a whole host of faithful gospel preachers, some well known in the brotherhood of Christ, others not so well known, but all of them men of tremendous dedication and commitment to the cause of Christ. This week, in keeping with my intention to write from time to time about ordinary, everyday people I have known and loved, I want to tell you about a simple, down-to-earth gospel preacher by the name of Charles P. Smith, Sr., but known simply as Charlie Smith. (More …)

    • Charlie P Smith, Jr 6:00 pm on 2015-05-29 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your kind and truthful comments about my dad. He was very special to me, and I will be eternally grateful to him for helping me to have direction in my life. His dedication to God and family were unwavering.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:31 am on 2015-03-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Preachers   

    An illustrative preacher 

    Jesus was not only a preacher of illustrations, he was an illustrative preacher.

    Jesus didn’t fall into the “do as I say and not as I do” category. Besides the personal claims that he made about himself, this “follow what I’m doing and what I’m teaching” mentality was the main distinction between his ministry and the ministry of the majority of his contemporary Jewish leaders. Jesus’ adversaries couldn’t convict this rabbi of sin in word or in deed. He even challenged them to do so, and then made a preaching point out of it! (John 8:46)

    This element of Jesus is not only what separated him from the preachers of yesterday, it’s an element that still does so. After all, it’s easier to give illustrations in a sermon than it is to be an illustrative sermon isn’t it? Telling stories are one thing, but giving someone something to talk about in a good way is a different thing all-together. And yet a living illustration is what we’re called to be (Matthew 5:14-16).

    Remembering that Jesus was an illustrative preacher is why I follow him; it’s why I try to not get too stuck on me. I try to be a good example but I know who the example is.

    Jesus’ illustrations still teach basic principles to his listeners to this day (think the good Samaritan, the blind following the blind, the prodigal son, and many more than what this space allows), but these illustrations have the effect that they do because he didn’t only teach with illustration – he taught by illustration.

    The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,” Acts 1:1

  • TFRStaff 4:14 am on 2014-07-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: full-time ministry, Preachers, surveys   

    Big survey of present and former full-time church workers 

    Dale Jenkins just sent this request:

    Hey brother – We’re doing a pretty big survey. Could you help us get the word out by sending something out on this


    photo Dale

    Minister/Writer, Spring Meadows Church of Christ

    m:dale | w:http://www.TheJenkinsInstitute.com | a:1003 Achiever Circle Spring Hill, TN 37174



    • Jack Wirtz 6:40 am on 2014-07-06 Permalink | Reply

      I am sorry, but what a waste of time and money that could have, but probably wouldn’t have born spent on good work for the Faith. Whether it is true or not will not change what is. The cause of Christ has never been served by mere hirelings. As R.S. foster bellowed out 50 years ago, “Let them pump gas!”

      Just knowing things is mere trivia. There is more than enough of that already.

      And *I* also, I say unto thee that *thou* art Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and hades’ gates shall not prevail against it.

      Anyone who can not rightly divide the Word or is not zealous for the Word in season and out of season won’t be saying much worth hearing, for what is salt worth once it has lost its savor?

      But Jesus said to him, No one having laid his hand on [the] plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of GOD.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:08 am on 2013-08-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Preachers, ,   

    Personal Insights from the Preacher 

    Here’s my article from yesterday’s bulletin. I thought some of you preachers might appreciate it:

    Personal Insights from the Preacher

    One of the hardest things about the preacher’s “job” is the personal side of it. It’s a job where we have to personally get personal without getting personal. We are expected to meet the expectations that say we are to get personally involved in the lives of people while still meeting the expectations of avoiding the personal areas where we’re not wanted. We are expected to preach sermons that have practical and personal applications yet we are expected to not personally step on any toes. On top of those personal problems, we have our own personal problems to deal with…and you’d know that if you personally knew any preachers! It’s not my job to know the details about your life, but your life is in the details of my job. And I do my best to avoiding preaching about certain topics when I know that a person knows that I know about them personally, but everyone else doesn’t personally know this. My point in saying all of this is not to rant; not even close! My point is to remind you that sermons that sound personal are not always personally directed toward you. So I’d love to get to know you personally, but remember that means I’ll have to get personal if I do.

    P.S. This isn’t personally directed at anyone 🙂

    Sound like a personal sentiment to anyone else?


  • TFRStaff 5:30 am on 2013-05-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Preachers,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Good Minister) 

    Hugh’s news & Views


    People have all sorts of notions as to what constitutes a good preacher/minister. Some want him to be a good speaker who delivers rich, in-depth sermons, and takes no more than fifteen minutes to do so. Others want someone who can attract and hold the attention of young people (especially the 18-30 crowd). Some want a minister who is trained in and skilled at counseling. Others look for a good administrator and manager. Most church members would like a minister who is good at hospital and nursing home visitation. Still others want a preacher who excels at one-on-one evangelism. Many church members think the preacher ought to be a good “mixer” (warm, friendly, outgoing, never meets a stranger, turns up for every event the church has). Some want the preacher to be a cheerleader and a PR man for the congregation.

    A few years ago someone facetiously wrote that after decades of searching the perfect preacher had been found. He is just exactly what every congregation wants. Here is the fascinating description of him.

    He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He makes $400 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car, and gives $60 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good cause that comes along.

    He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is short and tall, slender and heavy set, handsome, but not overly so. He has one brown eye and one blue eye; his hair is parted down the middle, left side dark and straight, right side brown and wavy.

    He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with the older folks.

    He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.

    He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of his office.

    Now, shall we get real about what makes a good minister? The apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (I Timothy 4:6). Did we hear what Paul said? “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ…” What were the things in which Timothy needed to instruct the brethren? Look at the preceding five verses (I Timothy 4:1-5). Among other things, a good preacher warns his hearers about spiritual dangers, about the fact that “some will depart from the faith” and fall prey to “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” How important is this with reference to your expectations of a preacher? (More …)

  • Richard Mansel 7:33 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Preachers,   

    Six Things Young Preachers Need to Know 


    When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.

    However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.

    When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.

    (More …)

    • Ron Thomas 7:49 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      I am assuming, Richard, you have in mind “lessons learned and that should be known as a form of guidance” during hard times, and not really anything else concerning the work?

    • Ron Thomas 7:56 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      With that in mind, I will offer a couple of thoughts. First, don’t contribute to the solution unless invited. Second, you don’t always know what needs to be done. When that is understood, then one is able to move slower and easier. These are two things I have learned through the years – among others.

    • Rick 8:01 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      Great, practical article. I heard, just last week, one brother discouraging his son from attending a brotherhood “preaching school.” Said that the brethren from years gone by didn’t need it, and they don’t need it now (I did kindly point out the untruthfulness of that argument, btw). As a graduate of one of them, If preaching schools were good for only one thing (and they ubiquitously have positives and negatives), the experience and influence of seasoned preachers would be it. Congregations and preachers (especially young ones) have expectations, and it takes a while to figure out what those are, and if each party will be willing and/or able to meet them. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, forgiveness and humility to endure the relationship, which I view to be as near to marriage as any other relationship. Again, good thoughts, Richard; and Ron Thomas, nice meeting you a week ago 🙂

  • TFRStaff 12:07 pm on 2013-05-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Preachers   

    Special prayer request for gospel preacher Jim Murrell 

    Chris Clevenger just made a special request for prayer: My dear friend and a Gospel preacher, Jim Murrell, is undergoing a heart cath today and is in desperate need of prayer. He is in stage IV heart failure and is awaiting a heart transplant. Would you please consider running a post about his condition and requesting prayer on his behalf?

  • TFRStaff 12:24 pm on 2012-12-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Preachers   

    Preacher needs kidney, prayers, donations 

    Anwar Carter shared this on Facebook:

    My friend and brother in Christ, John Parker is a preacher of the Word and Marine Corps veteran. John is currently on the donor list awaiting a kidney. In the meanwhile he has been hospitalized for quite some time due to other health complications. He and his family of a wife and two children are in need of prayers and financial assistance. Please consider making a contribution to help this family. You can mail a check or money order made out to John or Sametta Parker to Highland Heights Church of Christ, 3587 Macon Road, Memphis, TN 38122. No amount is too small. We appreciate your prayerful support.

    • Don Ruhl 9:24 am on 2012-12-13 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for letting us know about this. I had a kidney transplant on March 24, 1998, and brethren from all over America helped me with my finances. I encourage everyone to help this brother financially, for I learned that through my suffering I saw the love of God in people I had not even met before.

  • Ron Thomas 4:43 am on 2012-10-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Preachers,   

    When Phil Sanders was here in Sullivan IL… 

    When Phil Sanders was here in Sullivan IL, there were many opportunities for us to have both small talk and discussions of substance. How valuable I thought those were! One of those points of discussion was on preaching; I can’t remember what prompted it, but what he said stayed with me, so now I am engaged in doing so.

    As a preacher for a number of years I have grown in the “craft” of preaching. That does not, necessarily, translate into me being a good preacher, but there is education taking place in my mind with regard to preaching. I have always regarded myself as but an average preacher, and I refuse to think of myself as anything more.

    Average preachers, no matter the years of experience, can learn much from others (regardless of age) and from reading books on preaching. These were the “talking points” between Phil and me. I have been fortunate to attend CBI (a preacher’s retreat in Columbia TN) for the last number of years. Two men who were continually before us were Tom Holland and William Woodson (brother Woodson recently passed away); as I looked upon the accumulated years of experience of the two men, took knowledge of their different styles of teaching (preaching), I grew to really like brother Woodson’s approach. Though I liked the style and substance of brother Woodson’s, it was brother Holland’s books I purchased. One such book is called “The Work of The Preacher Is Working.” I am currently reading this book, and I am better for it.

    Phil was sharing with me a challenge and exhortation he received a number of years ago from (I believe) Raymond Kelcy. Raymond told Phil to make it a habit to read a book on preaching continually. I have heard such advice before, but it was when Phil mentioned to me that it took hold.

    I think I will.

    • J. Randal Matheny 4:22 am on 2012-10-07 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, so you were chatting with Phil instead of posting to TFR, eh? I’m glad you had that good opportunity to visit together. I pray much good was done in the gospel meeting. I used to read a good deal on missions and evangelism, but in recent years not so much. Your post reminded me it is important to keep one’s task fresh in mind and grow in service.

      • Ron Thomas 5:00 am on 2012-10-07 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I agree, Randal. I know I have not posted much, but hope to alter that a bit in the coming days.

        • J. Randal Matheny 6:33 am on 2012-10-07 Permalink | Reply

          I’ve missed your posts! Will be glad to see you contributing again. I know there are times when we need to take time away. I do myself, usually from the pressure of other tasks. Blessings today!

  • TFRStaff 9:23 am on 2012-09-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Preachers,   

    Visiting his own grave plot 

    Gary Knuckles made this comment about preacher Ben F. Taylor (b. 1878), who died on this day in 1987.

    … brother Taylor often would visit the plot where he would be buried. I don’t remember if I heard him mention this in a sermon or if someone related it to me, but he said he wanted to view the landscape before he died so he could see what would be before him in the resurrection of the last great day!

  • Richard Mansel 10:57 am on 2012-05-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hobbies, Preachers   

    Preachers and Hobbies 

    Neil Richey has a thought-provoking article today about preachers finding things to do outside of their jobs. God’s workers have been known to neglect their families, as well. We need to be like the common man in that we get sufficient rest, spend time with our families and take care of our health.

    Richey writes:

    I believe in preachers having hobbies, don’t you? No, I’m not talking about the “hobby horses” we are sometimes guilty of riding in the pulpit.

    I’m talking about the hobbies that provide temporary escapes from reality that give us a break from a life that absorbs us, virtually 24/7.

    Edgar De Witt Jones, in American Preachers of To-Day, quotes:

    I have no hobbies, except the hobby of work. I work about sixteen hours every day, and I work for work’s sake. I do not care anything about sports, waste no time on them. My exercise, my joy, my pleasure, my happiness, my progress, my amusement, are all found in the course of duty, in the field of service, at hard labor.

    I don’t believe in this for a moment. Nor, do I believe this philosophy to be biblical. My Lord thought it important to have some personal time. On one occasion, Jesus told his disciples, “…Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.” Why, you ask? The Bible says, “…for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mk. 6:31).

    Read More

    I enjoy writing, reading and watching football. Moreover, Pinterest is relaxing to me. What about you?

    The only guidelines would be that they…

    1. Do not take undue time from our families or ministry

    2. Are not too expensive

    3. Do not harm our influence as a Christian.

    4. Are not sinful.

    What thoughts do you have?

    • Ron Thomas 12:27 pm on 2012-05-02 Permalink | Reply

      For each man (or person in general) the down time or a time of relaxing is varied. My time is much different than it is with others, but it is just as warranted and necessary. I love what I do; it relaxes me greatly. During football season I enjoy the same thing you do. During the evening hours at home with my wife I am very relaxed and enjoy it very much. Your four points are very good.

      • Eugene Adkins 4:51 pm on 2012-05-02 Permalink | Reply

        I used to like playing paintball – but I ended up having no time.

        I work a “regular” 40 and then I have my preaching/congregational responsibilities. As of right now, I do at least 5 sermons a month, teach 8 classes a month, and give about 5 devotionals a month (this is based on a 4 week month). So when I get home from my “day job,” I start my “night job.”

        That all being said, I’m a husband and a father too!

        One thing that I had to learn was how to be content with little personal time. If a person in my situation doesn’t become content with this then they will go crazy and will get burned out on everything. Time managment is a MUST.

        So what do I do for fun??? Whatever the family wants to do 🙂

        • Ron Thomas 4:30 am on 2012-05-03 Permalink | Reply

          I appreciate your work, Eugene.

        • Stephen R. Bradd 4:55 pm on 2012-05-06 Permalink | Reply

          Before marriage I played golf a lot, bowled, listened to music frequently, painted & sold some artwork, shot billiards, played video games, and hung out with friends. Now, my “free time” is spent trying to keep up with, as Eugene put it, “whatever the family wants to do.” This is very enjoyable to me. Working hard as a preacher, husband, and father will keep me busy for the rest of my life, I think.

  • Richard Mansel 10:34 am on 2012-04-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Preachers,   

    Watching Young Preachers Grow 

    We have a young preacher, Rico Robinson, who is preaching our Gospel Meeting this week. He is 24 and beginning a new work. He has grown and matured the past few years and I am proud of him. We have had other young preachers that we support and they are special people.

    At our congregation, we train preachers, in a way. The last Sunday night of each month, one of our men preaches. On most Wednesday nights, one of our men does the invitation and on most fourth Sundays, they do the sermon at the Nursing Home. They teach an adult class at VBS and fill-in when the adult class teacher is gone.

    When I am out of town, we never have to go elsewhere looking for fill-in’s. We have several men who are perfectly capable of doing so. These men are really talented.

    Congregations need to be training men to preach and serve. Give them opportunities to grow. Preachers don’t need to be so insecure that we feel threatened by them. This is about the Lord’s church, not us.

    Talk to and support young preachers. Pass lessons along to them. Now that I have preached full-time for 17 years, I have wisdom that I can share with those who stand where I once stood.

    I’ve been fired and told to quit preaching. Yet, I persevered through these challenges and serious health problems. I can share that with young preachers and help them and their families.

    Will you do the same?

    • Jimsjn 12:07 pm on 2012-04-05 Permalink | Reply

      Bro Richard

      Re: Wisdom

      Just wait until you have 35-40 years of preaching and see how much wisdom has increased. I am 66 and am amazed at the wisdom acquired from 55-65. I now pray for anotehr 15 years in the pulpit and teaching. Regarding wisdom and elders, I am of the firm conviction that no man should be appointed as an elder until he is 50. A friend of mine was just appointed as an elder. He is 72. Essentially the elders that are there were not!

      Keep the faith


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