PUTTING THE PREACHER IN HIS PLACE
Carlos Valenzuela is coming to work with the Tomlinson Run church. We are all very excited that he and his family are moving here. His addition to the work here is very important to us. In this article, I want to examine how we should think of him.
• 1 Corinthians 4:1 (NKJV) Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Preachers are not over churches. They are not clergymen. They are not official interpreters of the Bible. They are not better than other members. Actually, they do not work for us. They are servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. They work for God and His Son. They are caretakers of the gospel of Christ. In this, they must be faithful – not necessarily eloquent, polished, or enticing – but faithful. They must take heed to the doctrine. They must preach the word.
• 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV) Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
• 1 Timothy 4:16 (NKJV) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
• 2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV) Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Preachers are not to be elevated above that which is written.
• 1 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV) Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
Preachers have their place in the scheme of things and are to be respected and admired for their work’s sake. However, that which is written prohibits partyism and the strife which accompanies it. We must not follow a man blindly. Preachers are ministers through whom men believe. They plant and water, but God gives the increase.
• 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 (NKJV) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
A preacher may be followed only when they follow the Lord.
• 1 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NKJV) Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
We have a responsibility to Carlos as he does the work of an evangelist (preacher) with us. He deserves our support, both financial and emotional. The preacher’s pay includes money, fringe benefits, vacation, house, and utilities – as long as he uses these things in a way becoming a Christian. It is none of our business what kind of car he has, where he goes on vacation, what he spends his money on, whether of not he has pets, or has a party at his house. Emotionally, he needs our encouragement and consideration when he or his family is sick. He needs us to be partners when he makes visits or holds classes with people, or does other church work.
If we disagree with him, we need to try to work it out with him. We do not go behind his back and talk about our disagreement. We don’t call one of the other members, one of our previous preachers, or old brother so-and-so down the road. If you need to, you can always ask the elders to be witnesses to help resolve the problem.
• Matthew 18:15-17 (NKJV) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Preachers need time for study, lesson preparation, visiting, their families, and recreation. Let’s not get upset when they take this time. A full-time preacher is a great asset to any church. His knowledge and experience should be used by all of us to our fullest advantage. Let us help him to serve as God would have him in this great work.