Preachers Shouldn’t Go It Alone

Preachers Shouldn’t Go It Alone

We are considering how to recover from the act of preaching.  In the last post we considered the need for a pattern of rest and recovery in our lives.  In today’s post we’re going to look at the reality that preachers shouldn’t go it alone in their ministry.

At one point, now many years ago, my brother convinced me to go backpacking with him.  He even gave me a subscription to National Geographic Adventure magazine, which told stories and gave ideas about great hikes.  One of those stories, though, put me off from ever hiking alone.

Aron Ralston

Aron Ralston hiked alone in Canyonlands National Park in April of 2003.  Along his hike, an 800 pound rock became dislodged, and pinned his arm against the canyon wall.  For a little more than 5 days, Aron tried everything to get his arm loose.  As he grew weaker, he decided to do the desperate thing.  He got out his pocketknife and cut off his right forearm.  Weakened by dehydration, he managed to stumble out of the canyon until he could get help. (Laurence Gonzalez, One Way Out, Adventure magazine, August, 2003).

The Bad Part of Going It Alone

The reason Aron went through this traumatic and life-threatening adventure is put clearly in the story: “Ralston had not informed anyone of his hiking plans, so no one would have been searching for him.”  He was alone.  No one knew where he was.

I remember with some sorrow a time that I was in a depression.  My preaching hadn’t produced the revival that I anticipated when I entered ministry.  I was in some personal agony, but my pride kept me from sharing it with anyone.  The local monthly gathering of pastors was a place I attending hoping to find help.  But the people there seemed mostly to want to impress the others with their effective ministries.  I thought of calling a man that I knew who was in a parachurch ministry, but my pride couldn’t accept that he might think less of me.  So, I was alone–no one knew where I was.  The self-isolation practice in my life at that time led much later to a major disruption in my life and ministry.

Preacher, Don’t Go Alone

When Jesus sent out his disciples to preach and heal, he sent them out in teams of 2.  Have you ever wondered

Jesus sends out the 12

why he did that?  After all, if they went out alone, they could have covered twice the territory.   It seems that Jesus knew that preachers shouldn’t go it alone in ministry.  They needed to talk through the difficult times, as well as laugh at the funny stuff together.   I think they would likely talk through the decisions that they would have to make as well.   As a side note, I wonder if Simon the Zealot (who was in favor of assassinating anyone who collaborated with Rome) was partnered with Matthew the tax collector, and therefore was a Roman collaborator.  Just think of the conversations they would likely have had.

Later, when Peter traveled, he didn’t go it alone.  He took people along with him when he visited Cornelius, as reported in Acts 10.  In fact, the only person in the early chapters of Acts who went alone was Phillip.

When Paul and Barnabas broke up their partnership, each chose someone else to travel with them.

Do you get it?  Preachers shouldn’t go it alone when they minister and preach.  The practice of talking, sharing, discussing and laughing together is key to effectiveness in ministry.  In the next post we’ll explore how to identify people that you can recruit to walk with you and give you strength.