Those are the compelling words written by an aging mentor to his young protégé’. One translation uses the term “reliable men.” The clear teaching of 2 Timothy 2:1-3 is that the teachings of God are to be passed down from one generation to the next. One preacher compared this process to a relay race where one runner passes the baton to another runner.
Many have written and spoken about the decreasing number of preachers in the church in recent years. Some suggest that we are losing 400 preachers a year, and that we are not training enough men to replace that growing number. It is not the intention of this article to discuss why this is happening. We might save that for a future article.
While we are thankful for the work being done by our Christian Universities and our Preacher Training Schools, the truth is, we just don’t have enough young men becoming preachers. Christians need to do everything possible to encourage these schools that are doing their best to help train preachers.
For years, many have said that the training of preachers must begin in our homes and in our local churches. It is not my conviction that every young man has to be, or even should be a preacher. However, we do need more young men who will commit their lives to the preaching of the Word.
During the past few days it has been my privilege to spend some time at two Preacher Training Camps with nearly seventy young men who have some interest in being preachers. Not every one of these young men will make the decision to spend their life in preaching. But every one of them can preach.
It has been a pleasure to watch these young men grow in a short period of time. It has been a blessing to see the great interest they have in sharing the Gospel. One of the encouraging aspects of both of these camps is that many of the presentations and discussions have centered on Jesus.
The young men who are attending these camps love people, they love Jesus, they love the church, and they love the Word of God. They are an inspiration and will be a tremendous blessing for many years to come.
There are a number of these Preacher Training Camps around the country being hosted by congregations who have a desire to help in the training of preachers. There are other ways that we can encourage young men to be preachers.
Spend some time talking to young men about preaching. If you see a young man who has the potential to preach, talk to him about being a preacher. Discuss with him the growing need for more good preachers.
Encourage good preaching in the life of the local church. If you have a preacher who loves people, who loves Jesus, and who preaches the Word, hold him up as an example to young men. Speak kindly to him and about him to others. Treat him in a way that would cause other young men to want to be preachers.
Provide opportunities for young men to speak. This can be accomplished through devotions in homes, Bible classes, and Wednesday night devotions as well as other times. Create opportunities to get young men in front of others.
Be involved in the actual training of young men to preach. There are many churches who are involved in programs like Lads-to-Leaders, Preacher Training Camps, etc. Encourage and support good Christian colleges/universities and Preacher Training Schools where young men are being trained to preach.
Pray for preachers publicly and privately. Pray that more young men will want to be involved in preaching the Word of God. These are just a few ways that we can obey Paul’s command to “entrust” the Word of God to faithful men who will also teach others.
Dear Father, we pray that more young men will be encouraged to preach Your Word. Help us to challenge and encourage them when we see young men with the potential or the desire to be preachers. Dear God, we pray that many leaders will be raised in future generations who will be a great strength to Your Church. We pray for schools that are involved in the training of preachers. God, help those of us who are preaching to be the kind of examples that would cause young men to want to preach. We pray, dear Father, that Your Church will always be shining light in world of darkness.