The Minister’s Character
Dr. Sidney L. Poe
(Editor, Mississippi District Torch)
Preaching influences people from two perspectives. One has nothing to do with the preacher himself, the other has everything to do with the preacher himself. Either of these elements alone is powerful but may not be effective; both are dangerous because of their inherent power to influence people and therefore destiny. The proper blend of the two means exponential power. The elements are the character of the preaching and the character of the preacher.
Preaching (sermons and messages) must always wear the label Truth, and Truth is revealed only by the Word of God. Truth will characterize Jesus Christ for He is the Truth. Without Him there is neither Truth nor reason to preach. Ministers must study (11 Timothy 2:15) to show themselves capable of rightly dividing and of dispensing the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but Truth.
With Truth in place of preaching it must also be kept in place in the preacher. A minister can preach no stronger message than he can live out on a day-to-day basis. People hear the message but see the messenger. Ms words and message will be convincing and believable or else totally discredited by his character and lifestyle. Such is required of no other profession. Doctors, lawyers, writers, statesmen or businessmen may be immoral, unethical and character failures, yet maintain profitable and even excellent reputations for their skilled work. Not so the preacher! He is the husbandman who must first partake of the vine (11 Timothy 2:6) of his own life. If he tastes the tartness his progeny will have teeth set on edge (Jeremiah 31:29-30). For this reason, many of the character qualities of ministers, especially pastors must also be evident in their spouses and children.
To be a bearer of Truth the minister must:
A. be Christian-a follower, emulator and in fellowship withChrist.
B. be a gentleman – courteous, thoughtful, considerate in making others at ease in his presence.
C. be an individual-reflecting what God, parents, and education have made of him, not a made-over copy of some childhood hero or celebrity preacher.
D. be an example-so all eyes of adults and children, sinners and saints will have a real model like Jesus “… of the believers a
pattern…… and “…examples to the flock” (I Timothy 4:12-Titus 2:7, 1 Peter 5:3, respectively).
E. be a leader – because people, like sheep, will follow. Confidence, poise, demeanor, and strength of personality are eclipsed by love and compassion for those he leads.
F. be a man of dignity and gravity-thatis, sober grave and of a non-nonsense, non-clownish behavior as becoming Christ. No sour-puss either – a sense of humor is essential to dignity.
(Note: practical jokes often confuse reality with the joke)
G. love souls-not just converts, numbers or crowds, but genuine involvement in the life and soul of people is essential. begin with
a love for lost souls, continue with a love for new converts and crown the effort with love of mature saints. H. have convictions
and singleness of purpose-Dwight Moody once commented on Paul’s words as “This one thing I do” and not “in these fifty things I
dabble.” Dogmatism has no place, strong conviction does; double-mindedness renders unstable one’s purpose.
H. have courage-to stand alone on Truth, to oppose the odds, to be firm and uncompromising even when the best of friends are disloyal True courage fears neither devil, sin, man nor woman.
J. maintain separation-from the world, from people of the world, from its ideals, philosophy, shady enterprises, and duplicity (II
Corinthians 6:17), and separation to the ministry (Acts 13:7).
The above material was published in the August 1995 issue of the Louisiana Challenger, pg.8.
This material has been copyrighted and may be used for study and research purposes only.