I was looking at a copy of The New Guidebook for Pastors by James W. Bryant and Mac Brunson this morning. I found it full of practical advice on all things related to pastoral ministry. One great feature is a short one page testimony by various Christian leaders before each chapter dealing with that chapter’s topic. Before the chapter on “The Pastor and His Preparation”, Dr. Russell Moore (Dean of the School of Theology, SBTS) writes:
An unprepared preacher is more dangerous than an unprepared Air Force pilot and more deadly than an unprepared cardiac surgeon. The preacher needs to know the Bible from cover to cover. He needs to know at least the English text and be able to see the nuances of the original Greek and Hebrew texts. He needs to see how the Scripture fits together and how it applies to theological and ethical questions. He needs to become conversant with the false ideologies and winds of doctrine that will capture some of the people to whom he preaches. He needs to know how to channel his natural giftedness, how to ward off distracting aspects of his personality, and how to present the gospel in order to get a hearing from both believers and the lost.
Not every preacher can go to college or seminary. Even so, in these perilous times the most effective ministries seem to start with a time of intense preparation, in a community of men training to preach, under the mentorship of godly Christian scholar-preachers.
An education is only the beginning of a life immersed in the Word of God. But preparation is crucial because we know there’s something wicked out there; there are lives at stake; and only one sword will do. The call to preach is a call to prepare! (p. 17 of The New Guidebook for Pastors).