Say you are just coming in to the ranks of Fundamentalism, having chosen the Sword branch as your particular nesting place. And, say that you are wondering how one goes about getting his name highlighted in the Fundamentalist Hall of Fame, and perhaps getting his very own personal invitation to the Good-Ole’-Boy Ball. You might need some pointers as to how you can get yourself into the “rising star” category.
We are here for you. We wouldn’t want you spending too much of your time in wasted effort when it comes to such worthy pursuits. So, let us help.
...First, Invite the Big Name Preachers to preach at your church. They like this, and if you provide them with a decent enough show (and, of course, that show is accompanied by a check of significant proportions), you have a very good chance of making a great impression. You will, of course, want to make sure that you really build up Dr. Big Shot before he comes, so that your people are adequately prepared beforehand to be impressed, yea even dazzled. When you introduce him, be sure to sprinkle your introduction generously with a variety of superlatives, like “most” and “best” and “greatest.” And be sure that he doesn’t leave without an invitation to return (make sure you include a few dates with your invitation, and that those dates are within the next calendar year).
Second, be sure to be well-traveled in the Dr. Big Shot circuit. That would include (as a minimum) attendance at every Major Conference. Minimum attendance requirements will include (of course) the National Sword of the Lord Conference, The Leadership Conference, and at least two of the Regional Sword Conferences. You should also keep an eye on the conferences advertised in the Sword of the Lord. Though you will not be required to attend every one, you must be sure to attend one or two of the ones that include Shelton Smith and at least two of the other Important Preachers and Rising Stars who annually preach at the National Conference.
...Fourth, advertise in the Sword. Buy the most expensive advertisement that you can. If you want to fish, you’ll need to bring some bait. Put it in your Missions Budget if you need to. But you’ll never see one of those guys with the teeny-weenie ads up on the stage at the National Convention. So, you’re gonna need to drop some coin on this one.
...Sixth, preach only from those texts that everyone agrees with. This is essential. Understand, there are entire books of the Bible that have no place in these kinds of churches. If, for instance, you were to say, “Turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 9,” or, worse yet, to Amos, you could be voted off the Island. Immediately. Find those passages with the texts that everybody likes, and stick with them. For that matter, you’ll need a minimum of five messages on David and Goliath. That way, when you get your invitation, you’ll have a sermon ready-made for publication. The only other topic you’ll need to cover will be Soul Winning. Really, every message that isn’t on salvation or on David and Goliath will need to be on Soul Winning.
...Tenth, you’ll need to get yourself a very large (and, I might add, expensive) mirror. This is for several reasons.
- First, you’ll need it for your preaching. Practice preaching in the mirror. Remember that style always trumps substance, so don’t worry about having any more than three points and a poem. Just leave lots of space between each point, and make the majority of your notes read like a prompter… “shout here,” “stomp here,” “Billy Sunday pose here,” “pull out hanky and wave here,” “pull out crisp $100 bill here,” and etc. Remember that the majority of your audience at these kinds of Conferences are in The Club, and hence are veritable connoisseurs of “preachin’.” You’ll need to be sure that all your poses are performed flawlessly. This is why the mirror is so essential.
- Secondly, you’ll need to work on that hair-do. Your couple of squirts of hairspray ain’t gonna cut it. Get yourself a stylist. You’ll also be needing a blow-dryer. Get some professional advice on the style that is best for you. If you are under thirty, the wet look will probably be the most appropriate. If you are over forty, practice your comb-over. Either that, or shave it to the skin every day.
- Thirdly, you’ll need it to check yourself out on a regular basis. You are going to be in the Big Time, Brother. You’ll need to practice everything… your walk, your handshake, how you hold your Bible (high and tight usually works best), and especially crossing your legs while sitting on the platform. Do not underestimate the importance of appearances. Especially if you’re going to get your Invitation to the National Stage.
...Twelfth, learn to pause at appropriate places in your preaching, so the audience has a chance to “Amen!” you. If the audience is a little slow, learn a few insults that you can use to sorta ‘prime the pump’ a little. Practice getting that incredulous look on your face that says it all for you, so that your audience will know that you really can’t believe that they missed such a golden opportunity. Learn to cup your hand to your ear, lean forward, and kick your opposite foot back. You will need to come down out of the pulpit and “Amen!” yourself at least once every message, so that your audience will know that no matter how much they ”Amen!” it is still inadequate (though you will want to say “Thank you” very emphatically a couple of times during the message, so that your audience will know that you appreciate their feeble efforts).
Thirteenth, practice preaching in a microphone. Note that I did not say “with” a microphone. You will need to get into that microphone. Learn to talk with your mouth right on it. Practice that husky, intimate voice. Work on bombast. Learn to scream into it so loud that you hurt your own ears. Be ambidextrous (screaming and stomping or else screaming and spitting simultaneously).
Fourteenth, do not stand still. If you need to know why, refer back to point #7, 8, and 10. You will need to step on every square foot of carpet on the platform as well as on the altar and the first four pews while you preach. Consider yourself to be like Joshua (Joshua 1:3). You want that mountain, it belongs to you. While you are at it, you will need to learn how to walk on pews while preaching. If your balance is good enough, you will need to learn how to walk on the backs of the pews, too.
...Sixteenth, get a big church. Remember those immortal words of John R. Rice, “It is not a sin for a church to start small. It is a sin for a church to stay small.” I’m sure that he had a chapter and verse on that one. But he doesn’t need one. He, after all, had a big church. Make sure you do not sin so against the Lord. Three to Four hundred will not do. As Dr. Rice reminded us, the church at Jerusalem had thousands. We don’t know about any of the others, like Corinth or Ephesus, but we can assume that they did too. Otherwise, they would have been in sin, and since Paul never rebuked them for being small, they must not have been. Because Paul would have rebuked them if they had been small. Because it is a sin (Rice 13:2) to stay small. So, get big. If you can’t get big (say you are in a town of 300 people), then move to a big church, and make it bigger. Mediocre pastors have no place on the platform of the Sword of the Lord. Period.
(for the whole article, go HERE)