On more than one occasion I have had a conversation with at least two preachers about today’s trend of churches paying guest preachers. Now, I will step lightly on this subject because I know that I can come off as a little radical sometimes. But, I said to the two preachers “I don’t get it?” Are you telling me that out of more than 1000 members in one case and a few hundred in the other, you have prepared nobody to preach? Both churches had preachers on staff who had been ordained in their church.
As you pointed out, Paul taught his understudies how to go out and preach to various populations. There is no mention of paying preachers to preach. Don’t get me wrong.I am not saying the church should not provide for its leaders but there is a line that should be drawn and never crossed. The day the church started paying preachers to come to their church to preach as if they were reality stars, and even worse, as if they themselves are inferior preachers, was a sad day for the church. The contemporary church as a whole has strayed so far from Paul’s teachings that they are being dishonest when suggesting that they follow Paul’s teachings.
Paul was an innovative, passionate and devoted church planter. He is credited for starting at least fourteen churches but some bible scholars argue that there could be more. At any rate “Paul reigns as the greatest church planter in the world.” He was so full of zeal about planting churches that he gladly accepted Phoebe’s offer to aid in furthering his mission of planting churches when she offered to carry his letter to Rome. Paul highly commended Phoebe as a light for Jesus, the “Light of the World.” Early church planting shows no resemblance of contemporary church planting. At no time in Paul’s epistle’s does he indicate that the success of planting churches hung on the availability of financing. In this respect, it seems that Paul was ahead of his time.
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 16: 1-3
The Apostle Paul believed it was important to teach in a way that a student’s growth could be measured in levels of maturity. His goal was to develop mature Christians. The way he accomplished that was by allowing the Holy Spirit to empower and guide him as he instructed others in the name of Christ.
Paul had natural teaching abilities which equipped him to effectively teach and spread the gospel while imprisoned. Incarcerated individuals have somewhat of a “sixth sense” when it comes to sniffing out insincere attempts of reaching out or trying to take them to places spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes mentally, they do not want to go. The messenger must come correct or be filled with the Holy Spirit to successfully minister or counsel inmates. It appears that God blessed and equipped Paul with tools and skills to be both.
“An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth. (Romans 2:20 NIV)
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1: 28-29 NIV)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16 NIV)
One of the most difficult jobs in the world is trying to sell something that yourself are not sold on. Paul legitimizes his theology perspective and supporting zeal for his calling by not only advocating for the gospel but by also telling anybody who will listen that “he is not ashamed of the gospel”. He further drives home his point when he all but swears that the gospel will deliver what it promises. Paul comforts the masses by assuring them that the Father is God of all people, not just God of the Jews and that anybody who believes can acquire salvation. Additionally, Paul is aware of the ethnic, economic and spiritual makeup of his audience, so he contextualized, making sure to tailor his message in a way that people not only receive it collectively but per their specific situations as well.