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Written by David Montgomery   

The Necessity for Fathers in the Ministry

1 Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

1 Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

1 Peter 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

From the above verses, we can see that there existed at father/son relationship between Paul and Timothy, Paul and Titus and Peter and Marcus, who was also known as John Mark. This relationship began in the very beginning of the Christian church with the apostles “fathering” the first generation of preachers. The apostles referred to themselves as fathers and these young preachers as sons. No only that, the apostles encouraged this relationship to continue for Paul expressed to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” In this verse, Timothy was now to become the father and beget sons in the ministry, and they in turn were to become fathers to the next generation of preachers. I feel that this very special relationship, which the scriptures expressly set forth, is to be continued in the church until the Lord returns on the last day. Indeed, older ministers should make this a priority for it certainly seemed to have been a priority with the apostles.

I have long said that the most dangerous member of the church is a young preacher who will not seek or listen to wise counsel, and the second most dangerous member is an older minister who gives bad counsel to a young preacher. (…when I use the expression “young preacher” I do not necessarily mean young in age, but young in his ministerial experience) Most of the troubles in our churches that have occurred over the years have come from these two members. Not only has trouble arisen from these, but also many opportunities have been lost for the church to prosper and spread her influence, as the Lord would bless. It would behoove us to never, never become these two dangerous members.

For a young preacher to feel that he does not need a father (or fathers as it usually is) in the ministry, is to say that he is better than Timothy, Titus, John Mark, Apollos or even the apostles for they were instructed by the Lord Himself. In my experience in the ministry, I have never met a young minister who did not need a father figure. It does not matter how intelligent or mighty in the scriptures they were--they lacked the wisdom that only experience can teach. For them to think that they are above the need for a father is foolish, haughty and prideful. Why would a man be of this mindset? I will list the following reasons:

1.      Usually in these cases, it is found that the fellow had some designing agenda for the church that they knew would not meet with approval among older brethren, so they seek to “go it alone” in order to accomplish their means without hindrance.

2.      The young man was petted and flattered which fed an increasingly large ego. My grandfather, Elder J. M Fannin, once said, “Folks would rather use the new broom than the old broom” referring to the preferment of young preachers over the old. Elder Sonny Pyles stated, “People always like to rock the baby” referring to the tendency of coddling the young preachers. The danger in these tendencies is that it promotes the young preacher to “think himself more highly than he ought to think” and it narrows his acceptance of any contrary opinions.

3.      The young brother simply is not called to preach. I have seen cases where a family promotes one of their own sons or grandsons and if any opposition confronts them, they seal off the youngster from the dissenters. To me, this is very wrong in more reasons than one, but it has happened time and again among the churches and it always brought trouble.

Any of the three cases stated above will lead to sorrow, if not disaster. A minister must make many important decisions that affect him, his family and the church as well and so it is paramount for him to have spent a large portion of his time in the company of men of a good reputation. There are so many verses in the Bible that enjoin us to listen to wise counsel, that one would think all would be careful to do so. Listening to good counsel is not only good for a young preacher; it is good for all people.

Pr 1:5  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Pr 9:9  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Pr 12:1  Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Pr 11:14  Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Pr 24:6  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

As I look back on my life, I have so many fond memories of those wonderful men that guided me;, namely Elders Hugh Montgomery, Bill Walden, W. R. Daniels, Jr, Sonny Pyles, Weldon Walker, G. H. Crain, J. P. Dale, Jesse Bass and Lasserre Bradley. I thank the Lord for having such great men in my life that took a special interest in me and shared their experience and wisdom. Even now, I go to them for help. I can well remember asking Elder Daniels to explain the hardest scriptures to me and he would make them understandable. I would ask Elders Crain and Dale about their experiences during their many years in the ministry…they lived through some of the historical times of the church and were eyewitnesses to many things. When I was a boy, Elder Bass was my favorite preacher and what an honor it was to me to share the stand with him and to hear his encouragement to me. He was never demeaning or condescending but always supportive. He never knew how much his interest meant to me. Elder Pyles encouraged me to always strive for the mastery, to study harder and to use my mind. To this day, he is still teaching, challenging and encouraging me. Elder Walker went out of his way to help, invited me into his home and showed me every kindness. Elder Walden did the same thing. I do not think he knows how much his life has affected me; and the joy I receive every time we are together. Of course my father, Elder High Montgomery, would top them all with the influence he given me. He is the measuring rod by which I constantly prove my actions and decisions.

I could say so much more about these and many others that it would certainly fill a book. I know that I would be far less a minister and even less a man without them. I shudder to think what I would be today without their influence. To hear of any young man refuse to submit to the authority of older brethren is unfathomable to me.

Elder J. D. Holder wrote: “While age, by reason of ex­perience and discipline, has given us real fathers in the ministry, we never grow so old in the min­istry nor years but that we should behave ourselves in the house of God. Let us so live, by watching ourselves, that we shall at all times be ready to go to a father for his counsel and advice. They became our fa­thers in the ministry by doing this themselves.”

Elder S. N. Redford wrote: “Young preachers cannot go wrong in sitting at the feet of an old servant and letting him instruct them. He has gone farther down the road than the young ones.  Yes, I know the Old Baptists can get along without me. They got along without me before I was born, and they will get alone without me when I am dead and gone. But every now and then a young Saul arises among the Old Baptists that is head and shoulders above any in Israel. He knows more than all the old servants of God. No matter with him how much the old oxen low and groan. How sad will be his end. Like Saul of old, he will sooner or later fall on his own sword.”

In His service,

David Montgomery



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