The Preacher's Requisites

Newton once said, "The Christian min­istry is the worst of all trades, but the best of all professions."

By W. B. Ochs, President of the Canadian Union Conference

Newton once said, "The Christian min­istry is the worst of all trades, but the best of all professions"—and there is more truth than poetry in that statement. There is no higher calling than that of the gospel ministry. In the sight of God the preacher occupies the highest position in the world, for he is God's appointed mouthpiece. He is, as John said, "a voice." It is his duty to speak God's truth in God's way. A minister does not represent himself, but the Lord. He is an am­bassador of Christ, and as such, he represents the government of God. Hence he must be willing to forget himself and his own interests, that he may foster the interests and uphold the principles of the government of Christ.

The minister is a servant of the Lord. Paul is called "a servant of Jesus Christ." The preacher must be a man in the true sense of the word. In speaking of John, the Scripture says, "There was a man." What made him a man in the sight of God? The answer is clear: He was sent from God, and he bore witness of the Light.

The minister should be a progressive man. He ought to be up to date regarding world conditions. He ought never to be satisfied with his spiritual and intellectual progress. He must advance and develop and set the pace for those for whom he is laboring. He must be a minuteman. His life and his time belong to God, and he must ever be active in the serv­ice of the Lord, willing to give all of his time for the furtherance of the gospel. Above everything else, the minister must be (sod's man. The image of the Lord must be restored in his own soul. Of all the urgent needs in the world today, the greatest is that of min­isters. who have the assurance in the heart that they have been sent by God and are colaborers with Him.

The preacher minus his preaching equals his life outside the pulpit. He is a preacher whether he is in or outside the desk. The preacher is his sermon. He must believe and live his sermon. The minister is a target for criticism. Many will find fault with him, but he must be blameless in the sight of God. Every true minister craves success.. He plans and prays for it. He must not forget, how­ever, that success depends upon the fulfillment of definite conditions, a few of which we will now consider.

The Preacher Must Live a Life of Prayer: Prayer was the secret of success in the min­istry of Christ. He knew. what it meant to commune with His Father. Many hours were spent in prayer. The minister must follow His example in this respect.

When Duncan was asked what the secret of his best sermon was, he  answered, "Thirteen hours of prayer." When Spurgeon was approached on the secret of his success, he answered, "Knee work, knee work.' We would do well to heed these maxims:

"A life of prayer brings death to care."

"Cease not to Pray, and hammer away."

"You cannot wrestle with God and wrangle with me."

"See the face of God before you see the face of men."

"Empty your bucket before you draw from the well;

God fills therempty. Most people are too full to get much from God.''

The Preacher Must Be Spirit-Filled. The minister will be filled with the Spirit of God only when he lives a life of prayer and obedi­ence. Before Christ left, He promised His disciples that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. When the fullness of the Spirit came, they were instrumental in con­verting thousands in a clay. We are told in Judges 6:34, "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet." Let us make sure that the infilling of the Spirit comes before we blow the trumpet; otherwise we shall be nothing but sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

The Preacher Must Be a Student of the Bible. No warrior for God can hope to be successful without the sword. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The minister uses his Bible in the pulpit, and he should therefore not neglect it outside the pulpit. The Bible must be his spiritual daily food, his light in darkness, his comfort in sorrow, his protection in danger, and his victory when tempted. He must be able to say, "It is written," and, "Thus saith the Lord." The preacher must know the Bible for himself before he can make it plain to others.

The Preacher Must Keep His Life Pure. His sins must be forgiven. The result of this will be the salvation of souls. We are told that "he that winneth souls is wise." The preacher who is not able to win souls to Christ and His truth should step aside, for he has missed his calling. In order to win souls, he must not only preach in the pulpit, but make personal contacts as well. Too many fail in their ministry because they neglect to visit people in their homes, and fail to make the per­sonal contacts that are so necessary in order to bring people to a decision. Winning souls for Christ is largely the result of a life that is in harmony with the truths one preaches.

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By W. B. Ochs, President of the Canadian Union Conference

February 1941

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