Jay Lockhart is one of a few men who could be called a Preacher’s Preacher. If someone forced me to name my five favorite preachers he would be on that list. From the first day I had the privilege of meeting my dear friend, brother Jay, he has been a tremendous blessing and a great source of encouragement to my life. During the past few years I have watched him encourage numerous young preachers through his teaching and through his life. For those reasons and many more we are thrilled to highlight brother Jay Lockhart in this installment of Preacher's Notes.
Jay Lockhart grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He attended Freed Hardeman University, David Lipscomb University, Harding Graduate School, and Trinity where he received a PH.D. Brother Jay was influenced most in his decision to preach by his parents. He states, “While they did not pressure me, my parents were my greatest influence in preaching.” Brother Jay first preached in his home town of Parkersburg. Some of his favorite preachers during his early years were H.A. Dixon, Batsell Barrett Baxter, and Jim Bill McInteer.
He and his wonderful wife, Arlene have three children and six grandchildren. They are very proud of all of them. Brother Jay is a wonderful role model of what it means to be a Christian husband, father, and grandfather. Every young preacher could learn a great deal about family from brother Jay.
Brother Jay has preached full time in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas. He currently preaches for the Benton Church of Christ in Benton, KY. He has preached in about one half of the states in our country and in six foreign countries. Each year brother Jay preaches in numerous Gospel meetings, Workshops, Seminars, and Lectureships. He has been active in helping young men through speaking at a number of Preacher Training Camps. He is also involved in helping young Christians through his work as a member of the Freed Hardeman University Board of Trustees.
I asked brother Jay why he believes that preaching is so important in our day. He responded by saying, “Preaching has always been an important part of God’s purpose in the world. Preaching meets two of our most important needs: Salvation and Edification.”
When asked to give advice to young preachers concerning the preparation of sermons, here is what he said:
⓵ Plan sermons well in advance so you know where you are going.
⓶ Be sure you are balanced in preaching - check up on where you have been and where you plan to be in preaching.
⓷ Allow ample time for study.
⓸ Preach the text of Scripture and answer three questions: What does the text say? What does the text mean? How does this text apply to our lives?
We also asked brother Jay to give advice to young preachers concerning the act of preaching (Sermon delivery). Here are his suggestions:
⓵ Be yourself.
⓶ Be well prepared.
⓷ Be enthusiastic.
⓸ Do not apologize if you use notes and do not pretend that you are not using notes. Try to be free from being tied to notes.
Brother Jay does not use notes when he preaches. He typically does not stand behind a podium. He holds a Bible in his hand but his sermons are such a part of who he is and who he has been that he does not use notes. The outline presented below is a copy of his study notes. These are not notes that he carries with him in the pulpit, but he uses them in preparation for the preaching event. Our prayer is that it will help preachers see how brother Jay crafts his sermons. By the way, if you have never heard brother Jay speak you can hear him at this year’s Freed Hardeman lectureship. He will be speaking Tuesday-Thursday morning at 9:30. If you can’t attend, you can listen on line at www.fhu.edu.
We asked Dr. Bill Morgan who serves as an elder for the Benton Church of Christ where brother Jay serves as preacher to comment on Jay Lockhart as a preacher. Here is what brother Morgan said: “Jay Lockhart has committed himself fully to the task at hand. He is always prepared. He is committed to preaching the Gospel in it’s fullness. He is always very prepared and he knows when he is through (brother Morgan went on to say that some preachers do not know when to end their sermons!) Jay understands what is expected of a local preacher and he fulfills those expectations very well. He fulfills his responsibilities in every area of his life.”