Why aren’t the elders helping me to learn to preach?


I hope this email finds you doing well.

I have a question. I finally got to preach and teach for a month in another congregation. I asked the elders in my church to attend one day and give me pointers. One finally attended, but all the elders said that they should or would not because their commitment is to their congregation.

I did not let this bother me. Recently, in a teaching session, a member talked about how the body supports each other. My dad mentioned that only one person attended my preaching to give me feedback. The teacher said if I had known, I would not have gone anyway. The preacher said that their concern was only this congregation. I am a member of this congregation and just wanted to get some feedback because I want to learn to preach. They are not giving me a chance even though the elder who saw me preach said he would help me get an opportunity to teach. What are your thoughts on the elders not believing they should support someone preaching in another church?


"The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (II Timothy 2:2).

It is the duty of preachers to pass on their knowledge of the Scriptures to other men so that the work of preaching continues. This extends to elders and teachers in the church as well. "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12). For this reason, churches give their members opportunities to practice the work with encouragement and guidance.

This training is done in the local congregation. An elder's primary focus is on the congregation they have been appointed to watch over, but this doesn't mean that elders never travel. Peter was an elder (I Peter 5:1) but traveled among other churches. His duties as an apostle did not prevent him from serving as an elder. John also appears to have been an elder (II John 1). I don't know how busy these men were at your congregation, but the fact that they were elders would not preclude them from visiting another congregation. It would not be an elder's place to tell another congregation how they must operate, but that doesn't preclude them from teaching the Scriptures or offering advice to be considered. The other congregation would have to make up its own mind.

In your case, you were only temporarily helping another congregation. If an elder from your congregation came and heard your lesson and later offered advice on how to improve, this could not be constructed as one congregation telling another congregation what to do. It would have only been between you and the elder.

The class teacher's comment made less sense unless he felt he could not skip his current obligation to visit another congregation. It almost sounds like the preacher also thinks that his duties are limited to only teaching at the congregation where he is supported; yet, in the New Testament, we see preachers traveling between locations and giving aid where they were needed. The authority of elders is limited to the congregation that they watch over, but teachers and preachers are not in charge of the members of a congregation. Their duties involve teaching the Lord's commands.

In summary, I could understand if those involved were too busy to visit another congregation to hear you speak, but the reason you were told doesn't make sense. I would suggest just letting it go for now. It would have been nice to get some feedback, but be glad you had opportunities to serve the Lord.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email