What Kind of Preacher are You Looking For?
I read recently about a church that was in need of a preacher. One of the elders was interested in finding out what kind of preacher the congregation desired. So, in order to do this, he composed a letter as though it had been received from an interested applicant for the job. He shared the following letter with the "pulpit selection committee":
Dear gentlemen:

Understanding that you need a new preacher, I would like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications that I think you would appreciate. I have been blessed to preach with power and have some success as a writer. Some say that I am a good organizer. I have been a leader in most places I have gone.

Other folks, however, have some things against me. I am over fifty years of age and am not married. I have never preached in one place for more than three years at a time. In some places I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I have to admit that I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any wrong-doing on my part. My health is not too good, though I still get a lot of work done. I have had to work at my trade sometimes to help pay my expenses.

The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities. I have not gotten along too well with the religious leaders in different towns where I have preached, and I am sure that they will not recommend me. In fact, some of them have threatened me, taken me to court, and even attacked me physically. My memory sometimes fails me. I have been known even to forget whom I have baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you, even if I have to work in a secular field to help with my support. Thank you for your consideration.

After the elder read this letter to the committee, he asked if they were interested in the applicant. They replied that he would never do for their church. They were not interested in any unhealthy, trouble-making, contentious, ex-jailbird, and were insulted that his application had even been presented! But, one of them did ask the preacher's name, and the elder replied: "The apostle Paul."

As far as I know, this story is fictional, but I believe something like this certainly could happen. Dear friends, when a congregation looks for a preacher what should they look for? What do you look for in a preacher? Are we looking for things the Bible says we should look for, or are we simply looking for what we like?

For instance, is age a Biblical criteria for evaluating preachers? I don't believe so. Those who are twenty years old should not have that held against them, and likewise with those who are seventy. Some congregations are not interested in a preacher over the age of sixty. This is a tragedy! We shouldn't be looking at age, but rather at the man's faithfulness to the Scriptures in his words and deeds! It would also seem that some discriminate based on marital status. Some are not interested in a preacher who is single. Are there advantages for a preacher who is married? Yes, but there are also disadvantages (cf. I Cor. 7:33). We shouldn't be looking at marital status, but rather at the man's faithfulness to the Scriptures in his words and deeds!

There is more that could be said on this, but I want to take time to draw attention to II Timothy 4:1-8:

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."

What kind of preacher should we look for? One who is willing and always ready to preach the word--the whole counsel of God. One who is willing to convince, rebuke, and exhort with a spirit of tenderness and patience. One who will endure affliction and remain steadfast. One who is willing to be poured out in service. One who will fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. That is the kind of preacher that God wants, and it ought to be the kind of preacher that we look for!