An interchange I had with William Thornton a few weeks ago caused me to think about advice given to me by old preachers. I was ordained to the gospel ministry at the FBC of Bentonville, Arkansas, in 1971. Several older pastors gave me advice and counsel, both that day and in the following weeks. I wish I could remember all they told me, but I do remember these gems. Preach the Word and love your people. Probably, all our Voices readers have heard this one. It’s really common, but it is common for a reason. It is good advice. A pastor should focus on preaching the Bible, and he should love … [Read more...] about Advice from Old Preachers
I’m old enough (as are Dave Miller and William Thornton), to remember the old Baptist Program magazine. The SBC Executive Committee published it for years, and SBC Life replaced it some years ago. Chevis Horne often wrote for the Baptist Program, and he served for many years as the pastor of the FBC of Martinsville, Virginia. He wrote an article that I’ve pondered over several decades. In that article he posed the question: Should a pastor be more prophetic or more pastoral? In the article he made the point that the more you are one, the harder it is to be the other. In other words, if a … [Read more...] about Prophetic or Pastoral?
My wife and I are members of the Central Baptist Church in Crandall, Texas (Dallas area). I’ve told everyone who will listen that our pastor, Charles Wilson, is the best pastor I’ve ever known. (Disclaimer: I have not had the opportunity to observe Dave Miller and William Thornton in action.) Charles Wilson is not the best preacher I’ve heard (that is Adrian Rogers), but Brother Charlie does a great job. This prompted me to think about the question—What makes a great pastor? So, in this essay, I’ll try to answer that question. I’ll write about what makes a great preacher in a separate … [Read more...] about What Makes a Great Pastor?
This the Week of Prayer for International Missions, sponsored by the Woman’s Missionary Union. I join with all our missionaries in thanking the WMU for supporting our foreign missions work with prayer and financial support. The announcement of the Week of Prayer prompted me to think about effective praying for missionaries. We all agree that prayer support is essential, but what form should it take? I remember well growing up in the First Baptist Church of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. During the Wednesday night prayer meeting, the pastor would solicit prayer requests, and the members would … [Read more...] about How to Pray for Missionaries
My wife and I had the privilege of serving with the International Mission Board (IMB) for twenty-four years. During those years we labored alongside many great missionaries. Mostly, they have ministered in obscurity, but God knows their deeds and the angels rejoice. In the past ten days two great missionaries died, and they have gone to heaven to receive their commendations from the Lord. In this post I want to remember and honor these two missionaries, realizing that they represent many others that I have not known personally. Charles Brock served with his wife, Dottie, as a church … [Read more...] about Missionaries Remembered [by Mark Terry]
One of William Thornton’s posts prompted me to think about Southern Baptist practices of the past. I’m 69 years old, and I grew up in Southern Baptist churches. So, I remember lots of things that may seem quaint to our younger readers. Other old codgers (like William and Dave) may want to add to my list. Hymns and hymnals. In the old days we did not have LCD projectors, and no one knew anything about PowerPoint, so we sang hymns from the hymnal. Typically, we sang three hymns on Sunday morning, not counting the invitation hymn. The only time we sang a chorus in worship was during a revival … [Read more...] about Things Remembered
I’ve followed with interest the debate about social justice. We seem to struggle with a definition of what it is, much less agree on what to do to achieve it. The Lord Jesus issued two primary commandments to His followers: The Great Commission and The Great Commandment. Of course, the Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20— “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe … [Read more...] about A Call to Prioritism
Disclaimer and disclosure: I am not a Calvinist, nor am I an anti-Calvinist traditionalist. Theologically, I am somewhere in the middle, and the Baptist statement of Faith and Message summarizes my beliefs accurately. I am not a theologian, and I am not writing to assess the worth of Calvinism. Rather, I was trained as a historian. I’ve taught seminary courses on the church history, missions history, and the history of evangelism. I have written/published a book on the history of evangelism and a book on the history of missions. I’m writing to counter a common criticism against Calvinism—that … [Read more...] about Is Calvinism Anti-Missions?
Several weeks ago Dave Miller published a post that presented a retrospective of his life. (Undergoing major surgery does give one a different perspective.) I understood Dave’s post to communicate that he wished he had achieved better balance in his life. Certainly, we all want to balance our lives and ministries, but that often proves to be a great challenge. How can we balance our lives? I can still remember my years as a Master of Divinity student at Southwestern Seminary (1972-75). In our homiletics class, the professor said we should spend at least 20 hours study on each … [Read more...] about Finding Balance in Ministry
I feel somewhat chagrined about submitting a post on sermon illustrations. How can the mundane task of sermon preparation compare with the exciting furors involving the latest convention news? Still, even the most exciting drama on television stops for commercial breaks. When I was a pastor, I estimated that I preached 46 Sundays each year. Our church also had Sunday and Wednesday evening services. So, that made for a significant preaching/teaching load in a given year, not to mention preaching year after year. When I studied at Southwestern Seminary my preaching professor, Dr. Al Fasol, … [Read more...] about Find Fresh Sermon Illustrations