Pastors don't preach to eager scholars, but to silent sufferers in every pew.

I was just about to bend my six-foot-four frame into our eggshell blue 1952 Plymouth, to drive to a little church in the decayed center of Paterson, New Jersey. I was going to be ordained into the Christian ministry, a passage for which I felt tremblingly unprepared. Before getting into the car, I turned to my friend and former seminary teacher George Stob, who was standing by, and asked him: "George, do you have one last good word for me before I take this plunge?" George shot his answer back, as if it were long coiled tight in his mind, the one thing he thought I still needed to know. "Remember," he said, "that when you preach, you will be preaching to ordinary people."

Thanks a lot, I thought. For this kind of wisdom you get to be a professor in a theological seminary? As if I didn't know! Anyway, I stuffed his bromide into the bulging bag of expendable data I had garnered from seminary teachers and drove off to be ordained as a minister of the Gospel.

As it turned out, though, in my ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel
Read These Next