1 Timothy 1:2- “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In this verse of Scripture it is made quite clear the relationship that existed between Timothy and Paul. They were friends, they were fellow laborers, and Paul even mentions their family ties in the faith. Timothy, though younger and at a different stage in ministry as that of Paul, still made Paul his pal and vies versa! The Timothy of today should follow this example and find themselves a group of “Pauls” to glean from. Possibly the most productive way to overcome the hurdle of youth is to allow older preachers to influence and impact our life and operate from their example from the outset of your ministry. Dr. John R. Rice once penned the thought that every preacher should serve a spiritual “apprenticeship”. As a young preacher it is paramount that you surround and side yourself with preaches who have been in the race and are running it right. Elisha had Elijah, the twelve had Jesus, Torrey had Moody, Sunday had Chapman, and Timothy had Paul! Every extensively used servant of God had or has the fingerprint and spiritual DNA of another, more experienced servant of God upon them. Recently I read the account of a pastor who was relaying to his people an inspiring incident in the life of D.L. Moody. The pastor explained,
“Years ago in our town the great evangelist, D.L. Moody was holding revival services. Each evening the entire sanctuary was filled from front to back with people. Some were even standing outside looking and listening through windows and cracked openings. A certain young boy, intrigued by the famous evangelist, waited outside the church for the arrival of Mr. Moody. Shortly before the start of the service a buggy arrived carrying the evangelist and his associates. Upon seeing the boy Mr. Moody looked down to greet him. The lad shuttered and said, ‘I’ve been waiting to meet you sir. I wanted to be able to say I shook the hand of D.L. Moody.’ In reply the preacher said, ‘Son you’ve honored me. Say, do you have a seat for the service?’ ‘No, the place is filled,’ was the boy’s response. The evangelist then told the boy to grab his coattails and hang on tightly. Mr. Moody then proceeded to enter through a side door that led onto the platform. Walking in front of the large crowd the boy was nervous and shaken but calmed by the smile of the evangelist. Mr. Moody grabbed a chair reserved for him personally and told the boy that it was his seat for that night. The boy enjoyed the entirety of the service sitting on the platform behind Mr. Moody! then the preacher tied up his thought by saying, “This story is significant to me. For his was that very church, that very platform, that very seat; and I am that young boy! I was lead onto this platform and today I preach from this pulpit all because I followed Moody and clutched his coattails!”
Young preacher, Timothy; find a seasoned man of God, clutch his spiritual coattails and let him give to and guide your ministry. Dr. John N. Hamblin, a man of God who has impacted and influenced my own ministry, one I count as a mentor, and the penmen of this booklet’s forward once stated to me, “There’s never been an Elisha that has stepped forward but what they first spent time in the shadows with an Elijah!” Timothy, keep in company with those who are seasoned soldiers in the battle and you’ll soon learn how to successfully fight the fight! I owe much of how I conduct my ministry and carry myself to the influence of older preachers. The Lord blessed us from the beginning to befriend several seasoned men of God and by being in their presence I was able to pick up and put into practice many things that others may only learn after years of ministry. I’ve hear it said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth because we are to listen twice as much as we speak.” That is a good thing for the Timothy to remember. Listen to the conversations of older preachers. Take mental notes when they discuss their past experiences. Observe how they handle situations and respond to certain questions. Watch their body language and reaction. Things you’ll glean at the table or in the car or on the phone simply by listening to and lingering with more seasoned man of God can prove more profitable than a library full of instructional books. Get a role model, a ment0r, a Paul.
I am afraid that many young preachers of the present think themselves to be a bit bigger than they are, spiritually speaking. With a freshly bestowed degree, brand new suit, or a few well built sermon outlines under their belt, many young preachers may see the older generation of preachers as having nothing relevant to relay to them. This is the worst mistake any man of God can ever make! The exhortation and experiences of older generations are an undeniable yet sadly, frequently untapped asset to younger generations. No preacher of Christian for that matter is perfect. All of us have our flaws and failures, but sitting at the feet of a Paul will provide you with opportunity to adopt and apply several good attributes. To tackle the trouble of youth that plagues Timothys, partner up with and pal around with practiced and proven preachers. Keep seasoned associates!
For the Timothy to tackle the trouble of youth they must seasoned associates!
Evangelist| Dr. Justin Cooper
Clays Mill Baptist Church