Licensed to Speak

Listening to that old cassette recording of my first sermon is downright painful. I had prepared all week and it was awful; graciousness alone kept the people in the pews.

Why would people listen to you or me? Not because of eloquence, or because we speak for God, not because others listen to us, or because some of us have white hair. They listen because of what we have accomplished.

Recruiting teachers for our international Bible college in Thailand was difficult in the beginning. We would use any old guy who thought he could teach until one day a student complained to me, “You know, I’m paying for this and I’m not getting my money’s worth.” I was embarrassed. Our goal is to train great leaders in this college and 75% of our grads lead ministries of their own, mostly because we now have the best line up of teachers in the world.

What changed? My criteria: Every teacher must first be a man or woman of great exploits. Now here’s the phenomena: after graduation, our students tend to do the same kinds of things that their teachers have done. Another person could come and teach the same things, not from a winning experience, and it’s just powerless information, or at worst, a defeated spirit.

The success rate of average North American Bible colleges is around 6%, mostly because they employ teachers who have never accomplished the things their students came to learn about. In fact, teaching Bible college has become the default position for pastors who are unsuccessful in leading a church. Why would we use our failures to teach our next generation how to succeed?

There is only one reason you can teach me – because of what you have accomplished. Oh, and I’ll listen to the guys we are training as well, but that’s for a different reason.

Do you want to preach in the church or teach in the Bile college? Do something useful until somebody notices. The same holds true for writing a book or having your own tv program. It can’t succeed if it’s about you having a ministry or a voice.

People looking for pulpits to preach in are a nuisance, not a blessing. We want everyone to succeed, but the pulpit, in whatever form, is not where success begins. My best advice is that you build your own pulpit by preaching where there is no pulpit and praying for people where there is no alter. The Word of God has no power in your mouth until it’s first been proven in your life, by accomplishments. Then people will flock to hear what you have to say.

What kind of successes do you think people want to hear about


One response to “Licensed to Speak

  1. So right on. I remember Dr. Lester Sumrall. I could sit and listen for hours to him mostly because he’d share all the great things he was doing for God, then give the Word, and then share more overcoming, victory exploits. Even writing about it now and remembering it, thrills me. He was a DOER of the Word and not just a mere hearer. He didn’t care if anyone gave him a pat on the back or a way to go Bro, Hi Five. He was never out for man’s recognition or approval only God’s. If anyone is my living hero, he certainly is one. That is what I think the people want to see and hear; Leaders who are doing exploits for God’s kingdom. Daniel 11:32 Ampl. “… but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits for God.”

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