It comes as a shock to a minister to learn that a pulpit committee has overlooked his dedicated endowments and rejected him, considering him to have a negative personality. Church leaders recognize that an unattractive personality hurts a cause, and they dislike to recommend to any field a man who has neither a balance of good traits nor a graciousness of spirit. They seem to know that the personality and the preacher are not separable identities, that the man rises or falls, emerges to new heights or sinks to levels far beneath his capacity, because of the enhancement or the neglect of his identifying qualities. And it brings one up with a start to realize that his worth to his Lord is measured by the factors in his makeup.
So many aids to pastors fix attention on sermon preparation, administration, or program development that we are tempted to overlook the factor which often makes or breaks a minister—the effective use and enhancement of his personality. Until recently even divinity schools have failed to realize that an unconsidered and undeveloped personality may militate against all that they have sought to develop in their students. Today, in the midst of terrific competition for the minds, bodies, and souls of people, serious attention should be given to the person and the presence of the minister. For the man of God, it may be a time for soul culture—a big, personal landscaping operation.
“You either have it or you don’t!” is far too simple an appraisal of the personality. “Either a preacher’s got it, or he hasn’t” fails to consider that many ministers are not only making the most of what they have, but are zealously building personalities which enrich the trust given to them. Beecher admonished the young man with ...1
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