There are modern expectations placed upon preachers that our first-century brethren never imagined: church bulletins, social media administration, office management, and various programs that prove expedient in local settings. Many of these “side jobs” become areas of strife for the preacher. Some jobs assigned to the preacher could be demeaning because other members of the congregation “have to work” insinuating that the preacher himself does not work. Others may believe that the time he devotes to family or hobby or education does not directly benefit the church and thus is akin to “stealing” from the congregation. These ideas are toxic and create strife against the preacher.
What can a preacher do to bring about unity (Eph. 4:1-3)? What can the preacher do when assigned tasks that do not fit “preach the word” (2 Timo. 4:2)? Should he neglect church work days, turn off his phone, allow the Facebook page to die, or give the bulletin to someone else?
There is a great deal of judgment in handling the local work in each local setting, and I trust that most preachers work hard to find a balance to do all the “side jobs” assigned to them. So then, allow me to suggest a working formula for preachers: first, place God’s expectations above all else. HE has called YOU “a man of God” (1 Tim. 6:11; cf. 1 Kings 13:1ff). A preacher is not prideful when he says, “I am the man of God in this place.” As God’s man, he must place emphasis on what God has called him to do (2 Tim. 4:2; Mark 16:15).
Second, those “side jobs” will fall into place when we emphasize what God expects of the preacher. We can do the “weightier matters” of preaching while also not leaving the other “undone” (cf. Matt. 23:23). Bulletin articles may be borrowed, or the Facebook page may not be updated this week because the man of God gave himself to God’s work in this place. We can see those “side jobs” for what they are: good work to be done as the preacher or someone else who is able.
Most brethren, when they see you have dedicated yourself to be God’s man first and foremost, will respect you more and not less. When you give yourself entirely to God’s work, good brethren often join in when and where needed. And, if they don’t, you are prioritizing God’s expectations anyway.