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The Hardest Job of All

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 13 Nov 2019

Peter Jensen explains why the job of senior minister in a church is the hardest of all in his latest editorial for Churchman.

In his latest editorial for Churchman, Peter Jensen discusses a job he’s never had: that of the church leader. Peter reckons this to be the hardest job of all, for many reasons, but especially because of the task of preaching week in, week out to the same congregation:

“There are a large variety of tasks and obligations which fill the life of the ordinary minister, from planning small groups to chairing meetings to putting the coffee cups away at the end of the day. In some churches, especially ones with teams, the vicar is nowadays more akin to a manager than to a minister. And there are many relationships which are formed and must be tended. But it is preaching which concerns me, for here the minister stands and publicly confesses the faith which is his faith for all to hear. Here is the test and the business of ministry at its most obvious. If this is not done well, little else can flourish.

And here is the problem. For it is very hard to preach well over many years in the same place to the same group of people.”

Why is it so hard? Making the time for preparation, avoiding falling into habits or relying on the same presentation methods, drawing on every field from exegesis and biblical theology, to doctrine, church history and philosophy. Peter explores the problems and pitfalls but also offers some important insights for encouraging better long-term preaching ministry in our local churches. He considers the vital role of theological colleges, the need for ongoing self-education, and constant interaction with God’s word itself, finally reaching the conclusion that, “In the end, great preaching is a product of great faith.”

Read the full editorial and other articles in the latest edition of Churchman, available here.

Ros Clarke is Acting Director of Church Society and a member of the Churchman Editorial Board

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