Friday, November 29, 2013

WHERE ARE THE YOUNG PREACHERS?

The church of Christ was birthed into the world with a flaming tongue. She had something to tell the whole world and, oh, how she said it! With passionate certainty and Holy Ghost boldness the primitive church broke down every man-made barrier to plant the conquering flag of Jesus all around the planet.

Ever since then Christianity has always been characterized by a zealous spirit of preaching that dares to speak in the name of the Lord. Each revival generation has produced a long list of zealous heavenly spokesmen who refused to keep quiet when the glory of the Lord was at stake. They rose up with fire in their belly and made known the ways of the Almighty. They were soldiers, heroes and warriors of the faith.

So the question I want to ask today is: where are all the young preachers? Where are the young men of this upcoming generation who renounce worldly commodity in order to be mouthpieces of the Most High? Where are they?

As I look around in most churches I find dozens of young men fighting to get into the church’s praise and worship team. Everyone wants to be on the stage playing some kind of instrument. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. God be thanked for such gifts! But where- I ask- are the prophetic voices? It seems to me that here in the West contemporary Christianity is gradually turning into a mass musical movement with little or no preaching at all to accompany it. The essence is dying out. Where is the substance?

I trust too much in the providence of God to believe that He would let the light of the Gospel be entirely extinguished from Europe. He will always have His witnesses. His election is sure. But it is a worrying sign of the times when the most celebrated believers are young Christian rock stars and celebrities. Whatever happened to the young penniless missionaries that shed their sweat, blood and tears for Christ’s cause to prosper in faraway lands? What about young souls such as David Brainerd and Robert Murray McCheyne who remained doggedly faithful to the message of the Gospel even when death came knocking at their door?

The Puritan giant William Perkins (1558-1602) lamented the scarcity of young men entering the ministry way back in the sixteenth century too. He cited three main reasons: 1) the contempt preachers have to face; 2) the difficulty of discharging the duties of a minister’s calling; and 3) the inadequacy of financial recompense given to those who enter the calling. Things haven’t changed that much more than four hundred years later!

Young preachers must be prepared to be spat upon, threatened and insulted endlessly- both by nonbelievers and believers alike. That is the lot of the witnesses to the truth. Also, they must seek God earnestly to hear His voice so that they know what to speak in public. Such seeking is intense, long, drawn-out and at times, dryly barren. But in the end, God comes.  And they must do all this without expecting great dividends (this side of earth). Many will have to combine their preaching ministry with a part-time/ full-time job, but when God ignites a fire in one’s heart it is impossible to resist.

I pray constantly that God may raise up young preachers in our nations and that a Bible-steeped generation may stand up to take the mantle of the primitive church upon their shoulders. May we all encourage our young preachers and pray for them day and night. They need it. Let’s embrace them, weep with them and sow into them so that the flaming tongue of Pentecost may once again flourish in the land.

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