Yesterday was a long and tiring day. But a very rewarding one. Today promises more of the same. I’m in Irving, Texas, at the Westside Church speaking at their annual Young Preachers’ Workshop.
For the past 11 years the Westside preacher, Mark Roberts, and Warren Berkley who preaches for the Laurel Heights Church in McAllen, Texas, have offered this annual two day workshop for young preachers. While the topics change each year, their stated mission is the same: “Training preachers to preach the Word effectively and powerfully.”
YPW is not designed for doctrinal discussion, theological debates, or textual Bible study. Rather, it is an equipping and training opportunity to help young men learn the “nuts and bolts” surrounding the work of preaching. It is not theoretical, but practical.
The ability to mobilize members of Christ’s Body for ministry is an important task. It’s a necessary job if we are to achieve the potential for which we have been created. Paul said “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). The only way for this goal to be realized is to equip Christians for ministry.
God has ordained that His Word be delivered to mankind through preaching. In the Old testament He used the prophets to be his ‘mouth’ or “spokesman.” In the New Testament Paul affirmed the value of preaching the cross even though the world sees it as foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18-22).
To the young evangelist Timothy Paul admonished, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2Tim. 4:2). And, even though Timothy was young, Paul encouraged, “Let no one despise your youth (1 Tim. 4:12).
Since the church is to be the “pillar and ground of the Truth”” (1 Tim. 4:15), we need to encourage and lift up those who desire to preach God’s saving message to a sinful world. Paul also encouraged Timothy to train “faithful men who will be able to teach others.” While young men may employ educational institutions to learn, the church has a duty to train young men to preach the gospel of Christ.
The Bible calls such work “equipping the saints for ministry.” It is commanded in Ephesians 4:11-12. The word “equip” means “to make fit or prepare, to arrange, to adjust, to strengthen, to make one what he ought to be.” YPW is the church at work with preachers and pastors fulfilling God’s plan to carry His Word to a lost world.
Author Alan Loy McGinnis was right when he wrote, “There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being–to help someone succeed.” Leadership guru, John Maxwell, was even more emphatic when he said, “There is no success without a successor!” Training and assisting young men to preach God’s Word must rank at the very top of the equipping scale.
Having engaged in summer equipping programs for young preachers for over 20 years, it’s a pleasure to invest time with these young men. Roberts, Berkley and Westside are to be commended for their commitment to this good work.
May God bless our efforts together as these young men go forth to “preach the Word.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman