This one is from Jacob Hawk @Preacher_Hawk
Why should preachers encourage each other? It’s a good question that not only needs to be asked, but answered.
But I don’t want to answer with a pessimistic response. Preachers, we don’t need to encourage each other because we believe our profession is so dreadfully discouraging that we need the extra confidence boost or we’ll fall apart. Every profession is discouraging. Every profession has its challenges. And not only does it make us look weak and overly sensitive, but it doesn’t win us much respect with our listeners on the pew when we constantly complain about the perils of preaching. Every employee has difficult days. If our congregations hear or see us lamenting our profession on every occasion, they’ll eventually say (or at least think to themselves), “Get another job.”
So why should preachers encourage each other? In my mind, preachers should encourage fellow preachers for these two reasons:
We’re aware of the encouragement we really need.
Congregations of the Lord’s people are very loving. They want us to succeed just like we want to succeed. Nevertheless, our members often “butter” us up instead of build us up. If we constantly hear “Good sermon, preacher”, we aren’t going to grow. Let’s face it—not every sermon is a homerun; not every sermon is even “good”. Some sermons are great while some are very mediocre. Preachers know the difference and we shouldn’t be bashful about expressing it. How are we helping each other if we don’t level with each other?
At the same time, some criticize just to criticize. This is certainly the “minority” in the church, but they’re out there. Every church has that “professional complainer” who thinks it’s his spiritual gift to make the preacher feel two feet tall. Common expressions like “Boring, irrelevant, not enough scripture, too much scripture, too serious, too much humor” often roll off the same tongue. This isn’t helpful either.
If there’s anyone who knows how to constructively criticize or appropriately accolade a preacher, it’s another preacher. We can encourage each other by saying, “What you said there was a really neat take on that passage.” Or, “That illustration really brought your point home.” Or, “That outline was really tight and cohesive—well done.” On the other hand, we can frame needed improvement in a positive way, such as, “You began to make a good point, but you might consider taking a few more minutes to develop it.” Or, “Your application was well delivered, but consider your audience appropriately to discern if it truly applies to them.”
You see, our friends tell us that we’ve done well when we haven’t. Our enemies tell us that we’ve done poor when we’ve done well. Preachers encourage fellow preachers by shooting them straight. That’s what we all need. That’s how we get better.
If we don’t encourage, we contradict one of the biggest purposes of our profession.
Yes, 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 gives us many things we should be doing in preaching—rebuking, correcting, and training. Not every sermon we preach can be blue skies and rainbows, but we can’t dare forget that God wants His spokesmen to be encouragers, too. This carries right over into our relationships with other preachers.
We can never reach the point where we believe that we’re the only good preacher in the area, let alone the brotherhood. We need to encourage each other because that’s what preachers do. We encourage. And we need to remind those working in the “trenches” with us, veterans and rookies, that we love them and appreciate them more than they realize.
What a blessing it has been in my life to have numerous “encouragers” cheering me on in this preaching journey. After all, even preachers won’t remember every series we preach or article we write, but you know what they won’t forget? The kind voice that constantly echoes in the phone, email, or text message and says, “I believe in you.”
So preacher, let me ask you—how will you be remembered?