This is the first installment of our new “Dear Preacher” series, in keeping with FCFT’s goal to encourage Christians, edify the church, and equip preachers.
You should know that you matter and so does your work. The old adage is true, “God had one son and he was a preacher” (Mark 1:38). Though you have heard this statement many times, don’t allow it to become an old and trite sentiment. The truth is, God values preaching and therefore he values preachers (see 1 Cor 1:21). Some may mistakenly think that a preacher only works twice a week, but God sees the faithful work you are doing around the clock for his name and his glory (Heb 6:10).
It may be tempting to view your work from week to week as monotonous, minimal, and unimportant, but reject this temptation. Preachers are privileged to do the best work in the world because they work among the best people in the world. While every day may not be sensational, the work you are doing affects eternity.
A preacher’s work matters because he heralds the message of salvation and the hope of eternal life on a weekly basis. While it is true that every Christian is in some sense a herald of the good news, preachers do this in a unique way before the congregation each week (see Acts 8:4; 2 Tim 4:2).
The message that you preach, when believed and obeyed, leads others to Jesus. There, salvation can be realized, and hope can be held onto. Any given week from Monday to Saturday, people are hearing a barrage of hopeless messages. Many of the people you encounter on Sunday are discouraged, looking for answers, depressed, and disheartened.
You get to tell the good news about Jesus and all that he has accomplished and all that he offers (2 Cor 8:9; 9:15). Yes, it’s true that preachers must also tell people the bad news of sin, the truth about sin’s consequences, and the separation that will be a reality for those who die outside of Christ (2 Thess 1:7-9). Even though the message you are charged with relaying is not always pleasant, it is always powerful (Rom 1:16). You and your work matter because the message you proclaim has life-changing potential (2 Cor 4:5-7).
Seeing how important your work is, you must guard against laziness and apathy. It may be easy to see yourself as an employee of the brethren or the elders, but you’re more than that. It’s true that Christians are to serve one another, but a preacher’s ultimate employer is God (Eccl 9:10; Col 3:23-24). Paul referred to Timothy as “the man of God” to highlight the high calling that he had as a preacher (1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 3:17). Don’t allow your work ethic to wax and wane based on the way the local congregation is treating you.
Guard against letting yourself become unenthusiastic and lethargic in your work because you have not received a pat on the back, or because someone is hypercritical concerning your work. Paul told Timothy to endure hardness and preachers must do likewise today (see 2 Tim 2:3 KJV). Preachers must endure suffering as they do the work of an evangelist and fulfill their ministry (2 Tim 4:5). The work of preaching is too important to be hindered by a lack of zeal. Preacher, your work matters, so work like it does.
Every Christian is to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). This is especially true of preachers. You and your work are making a difference even when you cannot see results at the present moment. The word of God never returns void; it makes an impact as it encounters human hearts (Isa 55:10-11). Don’t fall for the Devil’s lie that if no one responded to the invitation then no one responded to the message.
Keep planting and keep watering and trust God to give the increase (1 Cor 3:6). Walking by faith means we believe that when we do God’s work God’s way, he will bless our work (1 Pet 5:6). Maybe you are not getting the results you want as fast as you want, but this shouldn’t cause you to think that what you are doing is insignificant. You are making a difference.
Preacher, you and your work matter to the generations that are both before you and behind you (see 2 Tim 2:2). Those who are older are looking back with concern and expectation as they hope the gospel will continue to be faithfully proclaimed for years to come. They know where you are and want to urge you to press on without giving up. Though there are new tools, technological advancements, and ways to spread the message, they encourage you to be a good and faithful steward (see 1 Cor 4:2).
Your work matters to the older generation that has handed off the baton of faith hoping that you will hang on tightly. Your work also matters to the generation behind you. Regardless of your age, there is someone looking up to you and admiring the work you are doing. They are watching the work being done and are preparing to model themselves after those they believe are modeling themselves after Christ (1 Cor 11:1). As others look on, give them an example to follow and a life worthy of imitation.
Preacher, you and your work matter to God, but you and your work must also matter to you. It’s important that you don’t compare yourself to others or allow your lack of perfection to cause you to settle for mediocrity (2 Cor 10:12). Be the best you can be for the God who has given you his best (John 3:16).
Preach every week as if the building was full to capacity and you knew there would be a dozen responses. Preach and work as if it was your last time to be able to proclaim the message of Christ—because one day it will be your last time. Preach with a heart filled with hope because it does not all depend on you. God is still working long after you are done talking.
Hold your head up high this week, preacher. Hold your head up to God in prayer and seek his guidance. Hold your head up in optimism as you know the best is yet to come. Hold your head up as you look for opportunities to share the message of Christ with others. Hold your head up as you look forward to heaven and all of those who will be there because Jesus was faithfully proclaimed through the centuries. Preacher you and your work matter, don’t forget it!