Every mother and father dreams of the future for their son or daughter. Of course, the son or daughter also does some dreaming of their own. As they grow their visions evolve. Even as adults, we understand about a change of passion. However, a love of God should always remain through every age. Yes, there is a difference between boys and girls and the expectation God established for them. Boys growing to fulfill their purpose turn into leaders. They lead their families. They lead in the Church. What a blessing if each boy became a man qualified to be an elder in the Church. Every family should guide their young men toward this objective. The central theme of an elder is a love for God. The elder shepherds the flock of God loving their very souls which God created. Another role which boys should be directed toward is that of a preacher. Jesus directed all mankind to share the Word of God; however, the male’s authority extends beyond that of a female. In the assembly of all saints, a man’s voice provides spiritual nourishment. Focusing on boys, how does a family raise a preacher? How can a family seek the future with their young man?
God aids all families in discovering Him. The heavenly father does not leave mankind without any directing or prompting, alone in this world without a hope of discovering Him. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalm 19:1) Examining the creation of God compares to looking at a giant billboard which states, “God exists!” He is not keeping Himself a secret. “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:” (Romans 1:20) God does his part in getting a boy’s mind on Him. With a curious mind desiring to know about God, a family would be foolish not to introduce God’s Word into the picture.
Foremost in raising a boy to be a preacher, opportunity must be enabled. This opportunity begins at home. If a boy has a question, answer it with scripture whenever possible. Stoke his desire to know the Bible by letting him know the answer came from the Bible. Mother plays such a grand part of this in the plan of God. She has the initial hand in sharing God’s wisdom so that her son will never part from it (Proverbs 22:6). Fathers, boys desire to be like you. If you demonstrate a desire and reliance on the Word, so will they. Examine a preacher whose father and perhaps grandfather also laid claim to be ministers of the Truth. His knowledge base seems to quite often be fuller. Why? From his youth, he has been fed the pure milk of the Word. Many families mention the Word and may even get it out at different times to answer questions. However, systematic Bible study should be a part of every home as well. Show the child you too love the Bible. A child should know that certain times each day, his family together or separately study scripture. This should involve not only reading the Word, but memorization of it and introduction to additional resources to bolster faith. Reading Christian evidences strengthens the belief in the Word as Truth. The Christian home builds the foundation for a life standing firm on Christ.
Another opportunity to hear the Word comes in the assembly of the Church. The Church is the main body responsible for sharing the gospel with the World. In the main Sunday assembly of the Church, boys develop from seeing the preacher handling the Word of Truth. From the earliest ability, their fathers sitting beside them should prompt them to turn to each book, chapter, and verse cited. Simply turning the pages enables the boy to become familiar with the Bible. Later, ask the boy to state what he learned that day or to summarize what had been said. As he grows, moments arrive for deeper conversations and questions, all to be answered by the Word. Of course, many churches offer morning, afternoon, evening or weekday classes. These should be approached by the entire family with joy. Involvement should be maintained with the child throughout all these times in regard to what they studied, what they learned, and what they had questions about. The early Church met day by day filling themselves with the teachings of Jesus (Acts 2:42-47). Though assemblies of Christians may not be that frequent in most places today, when the opportunity presents itself the family and boy should not forsake being present (Hebrews 10:25).
All Christians know about gospel meetings, but many do not seize the opportunity to attend them. What a shame. Even sadder, this refers not only to meetings of one’s own congregation, but that of others. A young boy who travels with his family to other congregational meetings comes away with great blessing. He meets other Christians. He realizes there exists a great fellowship among Christians nearly everywhere he may go. Meetings and lectureships provide an excellent opportunity for growth. The boy experiences moments with others examining the word of God that won’t soon fall from memory. He hears information he may never have heard elsewhere. He may hear the difficult made simple. Yet, if the family did not enable this seeking, there would be no sharing, growth, or memory.
A much overlooked opportunity enabling the hearing of the Word comes in the form of mentors. Few preachers today cannot point to a mentor who encouraged them at one point or another in their study and presentation of the Word. Young men should be introduced to preachers whenever possible. This means a family seeking God’s Word is mandatory. They need to be in the same location as preachers: assemblies, meetings, lectures, debates etc. In the eyes of a boy, these men represent something special. They need to be introduced to these men. A good preacher does not overlook the children, but encourages them. Recently, my son and I traveled to visit a mentor of mine. He spent five unrequested minutes talking to my son. He asked my son directly, “Are you going to be a preacher?” He then told my son he wanted a recorded copy of him preaching. Friends, young men need to be encouraged like that. Godly mentors can make a great difference in the life of a perspective preacher. Hearing strong messages as they should be taught will make an impact especially when it is from someone they admire.
So, a family wants to raise a preacher. With God’s help they give birth to His desire to seek the Word. Then they enable him by presenting many opportunities to hear the Word. The importance of loving God’s Word cannot be forgotten. This should be characteristic of all Christians, not just a preacher. Why does someone love? Why would someone love the Word? To understand this is to understand what the Bible represents. It is the communication of God toward us. That communication presents only love. “…God is Love” (I John 4:8). “…God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) There are a great number of passages which directly proclaim or display God’s love for man. Thus, once again the question, why would someone love the Word? The answer: “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) When raising a preacher, fully engrain the principle that God loves him. Jesus died in love for him. Every passage of the Bible, God meant to be there because of love. Then study the truth of that love. Show when man ignored God’s direction bad things happened. Show when man obeyed God good things happened. When a person truly believes in the Love of God through the Bible, he should love God and by necessity, His Word.
A godly preacher focuses on the Word and not the world. The presence of the Word in a congregation cannot be found in emotion. A great number of people declare God in their lives by jumping, swaying, rolling, hollering, babbling, yelling, and any other number of physical things. Others may display their emotions through happiness, crying, or anger, but again this does not prove the presence of the Word in their lives. The Word cannot be found in grand displays either. Some congregations put on great skits, bring in bands, arrange frequent parties, or put on puppet shows, but only the world can be found in such activity. “Look how many young people attend our congregation!” The Word cannot be found in how many friends a person makes, the number of people who attend a congregation, or how large a social calendar exists. The Word cannot be found in soup kitchens, banquets, food give aways, or potlucks. Emotions, activities, friends, and food may attract the interest of the world, but to raise a preacher, the Word must be in focus. Like Jesus, the preacher only engages in action authorized by the Father (John 5:19). This practice must never depart from the teaching of a family to their son.
Finally, a future preacher must be taught to want to “Share the love” of the Word. He must want to share love with “lost souls”. Some people wander about in life without any spiritual purpose. They do not know right or wrong. They do not know God. They have no alarm about anything in particular in their life, but their eternal home is hell unless they change. A future preacher must be taught to want to share love with “troubled souls”. These people dearly need help. Abuse from the world, addictions, bad relationships, a loss of hope, the troubled soul often exhibits a wide range of emotions and instability. Considered too undesirable to be approached by many, they need God’s love shared with them. A future preacher must be taught to want to share love with “seeking souls”. A number of people know there is something greater than them. They believe in “god”, but they do not know God. They are seeking, but in the wrong places. Armed with strong convictions and often ready to argue, patience and wisdom must be utilized with these people. To train a preacher, means creating a love for mankind in him. They were once the image of God and can be again. They were once alive, but walk in death. Only the love of God and for God shared by the preacher can revive them.
Raising a preacher means seeking the future. God will nudge every boy to recognize Him, but a family must be vigilant in enabling the boy to grasp the future as a preacher. They must provide abundant opportunity for him to hear the word. The love of the Word must be demonstrated so the boy can love the Word in return. He must be raised to focus on the Word and not the embrace the world’s focus. Ultimately, raising a preacher means teaching him how to love the souls of others.