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On Preaching and Ministry presented by The Jenkins Institute

It’s that time of year again. Peruse your friends social media posts and it doesn’t take long to discover challenges accepted for them to post thing for which, or reasons why, they are thankful. “In all things, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Since you preach nobody has to tell you the Spirit gave a beast of an imperative there! But we have an additional burden. In a culture distracted by the Lions and Cowboys, preparing for Black Friday, urgent to pull out the tree and put on the lights we are summoned to pull them back to Thanksgiving. More than the holiday - the lifestyle. And while “the day” provides an opportunity, it is also an expectation. Yeah, a “Thanksgiving” sermon is very neat in year one of a work and even years two through five. As time moves on with each “success” comes increased expectation to “do it again.” And before to long our mission has become a burden. So in this month’s ON we want you to sit back and enjoy. Listen, feast on, and amen some of the reasons your brothers in ministry see for being thankful for the blessings of getting to preach. We hope it will remind you in a refreshing manner how blessed we are - and that in the scurry to find the perfect thanksgiving message, your heart will find reasons to Rejoice! from The Editors, Jeff and Dale TheJenkinsInstitute@gmail.com



Thanks for the Ministry Or Why I'm Thankful I'm A Minister by RUSSELL L. DYER - rldyer@sbcglobal.net

Autumn is a time of reflection and of giving thanks. It comes late in the year. So much has taken place in the previous seasons. It is a time of abundant beauty in the changing colors. At the same time, it is a reminder that winter is on its way. It is a good time to truly recognize any reason for being thankful. And so it is in life. As autumn dawns in my life, there is a wonderful perspective on blessings. Giving thanks for so much in my life means far more now than it did even in my own spring. She said, “You’re not listening, Hershel. He said that he doesn’t plan to be a minister.” He replied, “That’s all right. He’ll be my preacher.” I was eighteen and planning for college. I wasn’t sure what my exact field of study would be. I thought it might be coaching, as I loved sports but was not especially good at playing any of them. I was also thinking about law. I had enjoyed some pre-law courses, and had participated in some lawyer shadowing. At the time, the thing that I definitely did not want to do was to become a local preacher. Growing-up in a preacher’s home was probably not much different than being in most other Christian homes. We were family, in every sense of the word. We ate, slept, schooled, laughed, cried, disciplined, and even traveled as a family. We were bound to the principles of Christian living. There was no “drinking”, cussing, or any other activity that was clearly foreign to the Christ centered life. Frankly, those behaviors were pretty common at the time. The biggest difference between our family life and that of most others was the church. It seemed that everything


we did was conditioned around the church; its activities and member needs. The crucial burden for keeping the focus of church and maintaining our family direction was laid on my father. He was an exemplary preaching minister, and has been for over seventy years. Still, even in my youth, I saw how ministry occupied his life and attention. I do not mean that he ignored or demoted us to a lesser place. He was and is an exceptionally loving and devoted father. Perhaps it was just my youthful rebellion, fueled by the sense that my father served with far less appreciation than he deserved. Whatever it was, it turned my intentions away from preaching and ministry. Still, I became a minister. Attending college, I fell in love with my Bible classes. The powerful message of saving grace pulled at me. I became what I had thought I would not be; a minister. I am certain it was a choice, and not some sort of calling. It was also the caring imprint of that one man who said I would be his preacher. So, some forty-odd years later, I am still a minister, and his desire is still carried in me. I am thankful to be a minister; not just a preacher. Pressed in this autumn time of gratitude, there may be many reasons (in people and events) for me to draw thankfulness in being a minister. Of course, knowing what God has done for me, there is the thankful response of doing what I believe He would want in my life. Considering people, there have been many kind words offered to me on so many occasions, and following so many lessons. There have been tokens and acknowledgements, simply because I am a preacher and minister. There are cards and expressive notes of appreciation that I continue to read from time to time, as they remind me that even in tough times my ministry is appreciated. People have let me into their lives. I would not discount the studies, baptisms, and the caring attention people have given to the words I share. I have been at births and deaths with many wonderful people. Plainly, there are uncountable reasons for me to be thankful that I am a minister. Still, there is one overarching reason I am thankful I am a minister. It is tied to my father. I know he wanted me to be a preacher and minister, but there is more. A few years ago, over a cup of coffee, my father said to me, “Your mother was so proud of what you are, and I am too.� I guess I knew it. Hearing it stated, was


humbling. That I would give those two special people a reason to be proud of me gives me more reason than I need to be thankful to be a minister. made.


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Why I Am Thankful I Am A Minister by RON WILLIAMS, ron@lincolnchurch.org

Being a minister has afforded me several blessings in my life. Coming from a minister’s family (my grandfather, father, brother, and brother-in-law were/are all ministers), has enabled me to receive unique and special benefits. I am grateful that my children have been able to be around some of the best people on God’s earth. My sons, both weekly, and many times daily, have been able to interact with people of great faith, conviction, and dedication to God. My children have observed Christian brethren encounter both good and bad in life and have seen how their faith sustained them. My children have been able to see how their friends and fellow church members have faced adversities, struggles, and other losses. They have seen perseverance through a reliance on God and a hope that motivates their Christian friends to keep on when life knocks them down. I am aware that other Christians have the same ability to view others in their walk with God as well. However, I believe that ministers and their families receive a special privilege as they interact with them within the role of a minister and his work. I cannot help but believe my children, now both adults, are better people because of this unique relationship. With this special privilege also came motivation for my children to be devout in their faith as well. As they have seen others live, so my children have been able to follow the example of others as they grew in their walk with God. Needless to say, these are just a few of the great blessings I have received as a minister of Christ.


Why I am Thankful to Be A Minister by JUSTIN GUIN, jsbguin@gmail.com

As you know, ministry can be a tiresome work which demands long hours, brings unjustified criticism, and time spent away from our families. It can be discouraging when you spend hours in prayer for others, on your lessons, or planning new ministry and have these tasks go largely unnoticed. In spite of this, we faithfully serve because we love ministry. We love helping, preaching, praying, and encouraging others. We love spending time with the Bible as it ministers not only to the congregations we serve but to us as well. The blessings far outweigh any difficulties we encounter, and because of this I am thankful to be a minister in the kingdom of God. Consider some of the blessings of ministry with me. First, ministry follows Jesus’ example. His life, death, and resurrection focused on serving others (Philippians 2:6-8). He is the servant par excellent leaving us an example to follow (Matthew 20:28; John 13:15). Paul challenges us to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, NKJV). Ministry allows


us to be the hands and feet of Christ. We share his love with hurting people who need hope and strength. What a blessing it is to pattern our life’s work after the son of God. Second, ministry is a blessing because God’s mission becomes our mission. In Matthew 28:19, there is only one imperative, “Make disciples.” Our life’s work is dedicated to this mission as we preach and serve. Even though we are “jars of clay” we are given the task of preaching the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:7-8). We are ready to fulfill this task at any moment. We “preach the word” by convincing, rebuking, and exhorting with patience and teaching (2 Timothy 4:2, 5). Our sufficiency for this mission does not come from our own resources but from God’s strengthening power (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). I can think of no greater purpose in life than to seek and to save the lost. This is God’s mission, and his work becomes our life’s focus. Third, ministry is a blessing because of the church’s influence on my family. My family is blessed to work with the greatest people in the world. They love our family and we love them. We have rejoiced together. We have wept My family is not worthy of all together. They support our family in numerous ways. When my daughter the kindnesses they have shown needed therapy to help with her us. I am thankful to be one of developmental delays they were there providing emotional, spiritual, their ministers. and financial support. When my son plays sports, it is not uncommon for me to see people from our congregation in the crowd cheering for him. We have been sent on vacations which were paid for by the generosity of others so we could get away when we needed a respite. Our elders took us under their wing and have mentored us in many areas of life outside of ministry. My family is not worthy of all the kindnesses they have shown us. I am thankful to be one of their ministers. When we are discouraged, it does us well to meditate on why we are thankful to be a minister. Our cup overflows with the blessings God has given us as we devote our lives to serving in his kingdom. Paul said it best, “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.” (Ephesians 3:7, ESV) Ministry is a manifestation of God’s grace and power in our lives. I am thankful for this work.


WHY I’M THANKFUL TO BE A MINISTER A preacher was preaching a gospel meeting one evening, and as he was preaching, he happened to glance at the front row. There were two men sitting there, and one was a sleep. Appalled and embarrassed by this, he told the friend of the sleeping man to nudge him. The man replied, “No sir! I’m not touching him. You put him to sleep, and you can wake him up.” As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to challenge myself to wake up and to realize how blessed I am to engage in the greatest work on the face of the earth. Even though it requires a tremendous amount of time, effort, tears, and attention to detail, the results are absolutely astounding if ministry is done correctly. For instance, I may study with a person for two years and he refuse to be baptized, stand with a family at the bedside of their dying loved one, or fail to preach a satisfactory sermon. Even throughout all the discouraging times (along with the joyful ones), my cup overflows with thankfulness to be even a mere instrument of the ministry of God’s Word. The first reason I count it a great joy to engage in ministry is that I get the honor of preaching and teaching the simple gospel truth to a congregation each week. It is my responsibility to feed them “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). It is my privilege to participate in the sole event that ignited the New Testament church in Acts chapter 2. Through this preaching, I am granted the great opportunity to impact the most important thing in their lives, their soul’s eternal destiny. My teaching and preaching can either have a positive impact on their eternity or a negative one. This is why James

by HARRISON CHASTAIN, harrison.chastain@students.fhu.edu


does not encourage many men to become teachers in James 3:1 because we will receive a stricter judgment. The task of preaching is nothing to be taken lightly, and if we are to be effective, we must take it seriously. The fact that I have a constant accountability system for sin is wonderful as well. I have my wife, biological family, my wife’s family, and my church family to make sure I am living the way I should. The fact of the matter is that everyone in my home, family, church, and community is watching how I live. In order to be the ambassador for God and the church I need to be, it is of the utmost importance that I strive to “keep myself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27) and “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). If we strive to be men of God first, then everything else will fall into place. Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Is it not amazing we get to engage in the same work Paul told Timothy to engage in? Although it can be discouraging at times, I think we would all agree the good times and rewards definitely outweigh the hard times and discouragements. I make it a point in my personal prayer life each day to thank God for allowing me to share in the work of His kingdom by serving in this capacity, and I hope all of us will “wake up and smell the roses” as well because we are most blessed. May we say what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”


WHY I’M THANKFUL I’M A MINISTER by BEN WRIGHT, ben@westwalkerchurchofchrist.org

We are told to be thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I must admit, I have not ever given much thought to why I’m thankful to be a minister. It has become such a natural part of life, that not much thought about it is given. When stopping to think about being thankful, many moments, people, and prayers come to mind. Some are sad because those memories involve the death of someone or an accident someone had. However, in those sad times, I’ve realized the impact I have had on people’s lives. Those moments of holding someone’s hand or saying a prayer with them before surgery are some of the most profound moments of my life. I am definitely thankful for the opportunity to minister to people in times of need. Being a minister has allowed me to be in constant contact with the best people on the face of the earth. Yes, even the best of us have warts, but those are usually much easier to deal with in a Christian than one who is not. Ministers like me get to be with people in the hospital, in their homes, at the church building, on the golf course, in the woods, on mission trips, and other places and we don’t have to worry about what words we are going to hear or sinful actions that might be around us. Really, we ministers are sheltered from the world, and for that I’m very thankful. Another thing for which I am extremely thankful is that my children get to see God’s people at their finest. Being blessed with three children, I love the fact that so many members where I preach view them as theirs. I know that my children will be cared for by all of them and not all children are able to experience that. God has truly blessed me with the privilege of being a minister of His. I am not as thankful for that as I should be and ask His forgiveness for that. .



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Ministry Thankfulness by LANE WIDICK, lanewidick@gmail.com

I’m thankful for the relationships I have made in ministry. As a minister, I’ve had an opportunity to work for some tremendous congregations. All of them have their own unique personalities. It’s been so rewarding to watch these congregations grow and thrive. Through social media, I’ve been able to keep up with students I had in youth ministry - watching them grow, graduate, marry, and have children of their own. I’m thankful for the parents we worked with. As I transitioned into preaching, that reward continued. My wife and I often reflect back on people who made an impact on us. But what is really special is that there’s not really anywhere we can go now in the US, and in many foreign countries, where we don’t have a person to call on that we could go and feel right at home. Being in ministry affords you those relationships, and those are things that no one can ever take away from us. We’re so thankful for those that took us in when we have lived far away from our own physical family.


I’m thankful for other ministers too, for the ones who have helped develop me into the minister I am today, for the ones who have helped me through complicated times, for the ones who call me up and check on me - those relationships are special. I’m also simply thankful for the fact that I get to do this as a career. I get to help people grow closer to God, get to know His love for His children, and on occasion, I get to witness them give their life to Him. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to share that good news with people, often when it seems like the only news is far from good.


WHY I’M THANKFUL TO BE A MINISTER by BARRY GRIDER, bgrider@comcast.net

To be a minister or servant is to be like our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 10:45). I cannot imagine a life more meaningful or noble than following in His footsteps in this manner. First, I’m thankful to be a minister of the gospel of Christ because it brings me joy. Studying the Bible and preparing and delivering messages that inspire and save the souls of men brings a marvelous sense of satisfaction within. Second, I’m thankful to be a minister of the gospel of Christ because I have the opportunity to associate with the best people on earth. Christian people are precious and those who love the gospel love gospel preachers. I sometimes pity the local brethren because they don’t have the opportunity to travel throughout the brotherhood and meet the many faithful children of God that I have met. Third, I’m thankful to be a minister of the gospel of Christ so that I can prepare hearts and minds for the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The gospel is the only means of salvation (Romans 1:16) and if through preaching and sharing the gospel I can save a soul from eternal torment, it will have been worth it all.


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Why I am Thankful to be a preacher? by CRAIG EVANS, mcraigevans@yahoo.com

Prayer. The thought of being able to talk to the creator of the universe is a humbling yet comforting thought. I love that I have an opportunity to speak to God anytime anywhere about anything. As a preacher there is a gift that I and other preachers receive that many never receive. People pray for me often. When I was about twelve years old Fred House the preacher at the Parsons Church of Christ asked me if I would like to be a part of a group to young men that he was training how to preach. We would meet at the church building weekly to practice preaching, and then would preach once a month. Did he know that thirty years later I would still be preaching? I know this, he prayed I would be a preacher. He is not alone in this prayer, my father sent me a letter when I was in college letting me know that he had prayed I would become a Christian and a preacher of the gospel even before I was born. Each Sunday I hear my name lifted up before God asking Him to bless me and guide me. One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of prayer. I think about how many people do not know others are praying for them and have never heard


their name lifted up before God and it saddens me, but I am thankful I have never known that sadness and loneliness. I have heard my name lifted to the throne of God by children who include me in the list with their family and their favorite stuffed animal, by sincere teenagers, and by each man who leads public prayer each time the church meets. I have met with friends who offer up prayer and have received countless notes from wonderful sweet spiritual ladies letting me know they are praying for me. In a month I will be marrying my fiancé, and I know this is the product of many prayers, and I look forward to hearing her name lifted up right beside mine so she can hear and know the joy and comfort from knowing people love you and are praying for you. One of the greatest gifts than anyone can give me is the gift of prayer, and some of the most comforting words I can ever hear are “I am praying for you”. I am blessed to hear that often, if I weren’t a preacher I don’t know how often I would hear those words. I am thankful to be a preacher because so many have lifted my name up before God asking him to lead and bless me and they continue to do so.


Coming In December’s Preaching The Calendar

Profile for The Jenkins Institute

On preaching and ministry, volume 1, number 6  

On preaching and ministry, volume 1, number 6  

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