What should an eldership look for in a preacher? Seldom will an elder place greater significance on this question than when selecting a new preacher. However, our expectations of a current preacher should be no less than that of a prospective preacher.
Most of us know men who were considered “sound” gospel preachers only a few years ago. Now, some of those preachers cannot be described as true to the word of god. God gave the responsibility to elders to “feed the church of God.” God also warned that “grievous wolves would enter in not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:28-29). Words such as these charge elders with the duty to look for these qualities in a preacher:
First, does he “hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim.1:13)? Elders want to see preachers who have a love for the truth, preaching sound words. Elders must ask the question concerning a preacher today, “Is he sound in doctrine?” The question is urgent due to the growing number of those preaching false doctrine. Many drive closely to the edge concerning their teaching, seeing how close they can go without going over.
Second, we look for a preacher who preaches the whole truth, nothing more or less. Jesus show the magnitude of his word declaring that the same shall judge us in the last day (John 12:48). God’s people have changed little in thousands of years. Isaiah describes the people of his day as those “which say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits (Isaiah 30:10). Many in the church today could be described by Isaiah’s words. These brethren reject negative preaching, welcoming deceitful false doctrine. They want something that will not conflict with their lifestyle, making them feel good. Some preachers avoid preaching on some subjects, hoping to retain good standing with as many members as possible. We desire a preacher who is trying to win a popularity contest with God, not man.
Third, we would like to see in a preacher personal qualities conducive of a good elder-preacher relationship. This would result in a caring relationship for the other, as well as for the lost. Also, a relationship of respect, and of trust would be found.
The Lord prayed that we all might be one. The question was asked long ago, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed (Amos 3:3)? We thank God for the many faithful men who have the attributes that we look for in a preacher.
(Power, April 1992)