A Young Scottish Preacher on PreachingApril 17, 2008
Scotland desperately needs faithful preachers. For this to happen, we need to see younger men taking up the mantle and unashamedly preaching the gospel.
One such ‘young gentlemen’ is Tommy Wright, a student on the Glo Bible College course and regular preacher around Lanarkshire. For the record, Tommy Wright is spending the next fortnight shadowing our work here at CC. Here’s a few questions I put to him:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Tommy Wright and I live in Motherwell with my wife Fiona and my little boy Caleb who is two and a half years old. I have been a Christian for ten years, having grown up going to church in Motherwell and making a conscious decision to follow Christ when I was sixteen years old. Liberty Community Church in Bellshill is where we as a family now attend and worship having become members before Fiona and I got married five years ago. I am currently studying at Gospel Literature Outreach (GLO) in Motherwell on a 1 year ‘Training for Service’ course having taken a year out from my job working in social care for the Church of Scotland. As for the future after GLO, I’m honestly not too sure. I’m quite willing to do something different if I am called to do so but at the same time am willing to return to my job if that is what the Lord requires. Who said guidance is easy?
What is your impression of preaching in Scotland today?
I must say that over the past year I have been really encouraged by the amount of preaching events etc that have been organised and held within Scotland. It would appear that churches are once again beginning to recognise the significance of preaching, thus seeing the need to train and equip. This is a welcome shift away from a church culture which I believe because of its low view of preaching either failed to develop preachers or produced preachers who were more like entertainers rather than men of the word. Thankfully there are still some faithful men of the word who should be with us long enough to see the next generation take up the mantle.
What first attracted you to preaching?
To be honest I would have to say that I never actually aspired to be a preacher or ever thought that one day I would preach. I gradually got introduced to leading bible studies and preaching when I was around seventeen or eighteen during my time at Roman Road Gospel Hall in Motherwell. When I began to realise that maybe God had gifted me in the area of preaching that was when I sat up and began to take more of an active interest. I recognised the importance of preaching the word of God not only for the growth of the church but also for the salvation of the world. Having the opportunity to study God’s word and be involved in helping others to see the relevance and significance of it is something that continues to thrill and excite me.
Do you remember your first preach?
I do know if I remember my first preach but I remember the first time I was up front giving my testimony at a little church in Harthill. I was sixteen years old and had been a Christian for around six months. I was so nervous that I kept forgetting what I wanted to say, with people from the congregation even having to finish my sentences. If someone had told me at that point that within two years I would be up preaching I would honestly have laughed, or the way I was feeling may even have cried.
What help have you had in developing your preaching?
Even although I would never have seen myself sharing my testimony up front again never mind preaching I was given further opportunities over the next few years to both lead youth bible studies as well as preach. I think that being given these opportunities as well as others throughout the last number of years have been key to firstly recognising the gift as well as continuously trying to develop it. Being encouraged by fellow brothers and sisters to attend preaching conferences, read books as well as to embark upon the GLO course has also been fundamental to the development of my preaching. My wife Fiona has also been instrumental often helping me to recognise and correct mistakes that neither I nor anyone else have picked up on as well as encouraging me not to give up even after preaching what seems like the worst message ever. I genuinely thank God for my wives patience and guidance.
Any thoughts on how you’d like to continue improving as a preacher in the future, and what steps to take to make that happen?
Two particular areas (there are many more) where I would like to develop and improve would be with regards to the length of my preparation time and the speed of my delivery.
At the moment I find that it can take a matter of weeks (although not solidly of course) to prepare a sermon from start to finish. This to be honest is because I am learning more about as well as trying to apply good hermeneutics as well as homiletics. To do it right obviously takes more time. My aim would be that before long I would have developed a comfortable method for not only studying a passage but also developing and preparing my message. A key thing which I believe would help me in this area would be the addition of more preaching dates to my diary. Currently I probably only preach around ten times in a year, with sometimes there being a gap of a few months between dates. Preaching more regularly would hopefully allow me to gain some momentum and become more confident in what I am doing.
Latterly as I have had the opportunity to preach in England and Wales as well as through translation whilst in Italy, I have realised that the rate at which I speak whilst preaching is too fast. More recently I have tried to consciously speak more slowly from the very beginning of my message in order that as I progress and get more excited I will be speaking at a more reasonable speed. This is still very much a work in progress.
Continuing in prayer, attending preaching conferences and training events as well as continuing to extend my reading on the subject should hopefully help me to develop further in the future.