Where are the stand-out preachers?

There’s been a lot of excitement this afternoon about the forthcoming interview with Mark Driscoll in Christianity Magazine in which he makes the following comment:

“Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.”

Now, usually when this sort of quote is released ahead of the interview, the content is much less interesting than the hype. Without waiting for the full interview though, I thought it was worth saying that not having a “young, good Bible teacher that [sic] is known across Great Britain” is something to be celebrated.

When John Stott began to emerge as a nationally recognised evangelical Bible teacher, it was because he was one of a kind. In the generation that followed names such as Sandy Miller, Michael Green, Dick Lucas, David Jackman and many notable others were part of a growing cohort of preachers who followed in Stott’s footsteps. They were followed by countless others (now in their 50s and leading churches, theological colleges, missions and other ministries). So by the time I began to lead a church in 2010, (in my mid thirties, and in my mind still ‘young’) the cohort of well trained, gifted, passionate and ‘good’ young Bible Teachers was so large that few stand out from the crowd.

In addition to this, these preachers are not well known, because they are doing what they have been called and trained to do – leading church congregations up and down the country, not just pastoring mega-churches.

Far from being ‘cowards who aren’t telling the truth’, Bible teachers in the UK are often young men and women who are committed to telling the truth in places where the Gospel hasn’t been heard, and growing congregations that will outlast the transient culture of celebrity.

So I’m glad not to stand out as a preacher, but I’m still striving to be outstanding whenever I open up the Bible and bring God’s word to my congregation.

6 thoughts on “Where are the stand-out preachers?

  1. When I saw your tweet I came over to post a response that we don’t need stand out preachers – only to find you’d already done so far more elegantly than I would’ve.

    Trying to see it from his perspective, I guess the one thing we lose without ‘stand-out’ preachers is a lack of mainstream media coverage where they may be asked for their views. But it also avoids a whole host of issues, especially with egos and corruption around people’s weaknesses – and keeps pastors & preachers focused on what they were called to do.

  2. Well said!! Pastoral ministry is far greater and wider than platform based speaking – it is about getting involved – and journeying with people. It isn’t about being famous!

  3. I totally agree with you Jon. I also think we have fantastic ‘stand-out preachers’ right here in the West-country, but far from being cowards they are busy teaching regularly in churches!! I am proud of whoever is trying their best to teach God’s Word clearly….Its about the ‘Word of God’ not how charismatic the preacher is.

  4. Amen. It is the fact that there aren’t that many who are well known that seems to be bothering him and h has written all of us off because of that.. I’m not that bothered that more aren’t known as long as they are fulfilling their calling and bringing people to know Jesus.

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