Preacher Boys

preacher-at-pulpit-copyPreacher boys occupy the lowest rung on the fundamentalist ministry ladder.  Above them are the youth minister, Sunday School superintendent, music minister, associate pastor, senior pastor, and finally, pastor of the church that runs the bible college where the senior pastor got his degree. Below them is everybody else.

There are not many qualifications for being a preacher boy other than having had the call to preach — a mysterious and mystic experience wherein the preacher boy transforms from being one of the regular Joes who merely go to church to being one of the chosen few who get to scrape gum off of the bus seats first thing each Monday morning. The call is also accompanied by an affinity for wearing dark suits, carrying gospel tracts in a  front shirt pocket, and begging for chances to preach at every possible opportunity. Since there is no age requirement, anyone from thirteen to ninety-three is welcome to take up the mantle and the gum scraper.

Preaching is, of course, the natural goal of all preacher boys and they do it with vigor at every possible opportunity.  Friends, family members, co-workers, and even random people on the street become test audiences for a fledgling preacher’s forrays into the exciting world of crying aloud with a voice like a trumpet.  As a last resort groups of preacher boys will even practice preaching at each other, even though they all know that they don’t really need it.

Someday, when the time is right and the door opens,  some of these fine young men will actually enter full-time ministry. For the others, there’s always insurance sales. After all, they’ve already got the suits.

Thanks to John for the topic idea.

17 thoughts on “Preacher Boys”

  1. “…and finally, pastor of the church that runs the bible college where the senior pastor got his degree. ”

    LOL. So true.

    “For the others, there’s always insurance sales.”

    Why is it always insurance sales? Either that or security guards? Strange.

    Thanks for letting me share some memories with y’all. I love this blog. Very therapeutic.

  2. Dont forget you also have to develop a southern drawl to go with the suit. Even if you’re from the north woods of Minnesota that southern twang surely helps.

  3. It’s also important to learn the gestures and habits of your preaching idol. For example if you’re a Ron Comfort fan, you have to learn how to say the reference of your text approximately 36 times at the beginning of your message.

    “Romans Chapter 3, Romans Chapter 3, and in Romans Chapter 3 we’ll be looking at the 23rd verse of Romans. Chapter. 3. Romans Chapter 3 verse 23 and we’ll begin reading in Romans 3:23, Romans the third chapter, verse 23…”

  4. “the call to preach — a mysterious and mystic experience ”

    Best statement in the post! It’s ironic that fundies will blast charismatics for having these infallible mysterious mystical experiences, and then turn around and do the exact same thing.

  5. Yup, you’re right, it’s definitely insurance sales because every IFB church no matter how big or small has a man who sells life insurance. He’s the guy you avoid when shaking hands between hymn stanzas because he might quickly mention that he would like to come over some time and “show you something you might be interested in.” He’s also on the lookout for good young men who can help him in this endeavor and that’s where the preacher boy comes in. They’re ready-made: dark suit, short haircut, good talker, nice smile. And then if that doesn’t work out: security guard.

  6. Three words – “watch night services.” The night every preacher boy looks forward to for his guaranteed 15 minutes in the pulpit (even if half his audience is asleep).

  7. At BOJO (aka Bob Jones) we actually had preaching contests where the best got to preach from the chapel pulpit and then they would announce a “winner”. It was absolutely pathetic! Young men in a contest to “out preach” one another. It makes me cringe knowing that I even went to that place.

    1. i came 5th back in 2004 or 2005! so close to being able to preach in chapel. and yes, looking back i am ashamed.

  8. They could instead use the title “ministerial students” but no, God forbid, because that might imply that some of them were WOMEN!

  9. Used to have a preacher boy contest at camp. A kid would quote John 3:16, and “yell girls take off your pants.” 😳
    At one church, the preacher’s son came back from college not HAC, but a clone in California. He got to preach. He preached about how God tells young men to go to his kawlege. If ya don’t ya won’t meet the mate God has for you. He will probably stick you with some LARDBALL. (There were 3 women in that service between 350 & 500 lbs. they didn’t think it was as funny as the kawlege students.)

    1. So, I wonder if on their college applications, a girl must put her height, weight and BMI and then at college have weekly weighings.


  10. Yikes. I don’t know about the whole “call to preach” thing. My dad is a preacher (not a pastor) – he is has the spiritual gifts of teaching and preaching. He originally wasn’t too keen on doing it, but when he was young the older men in his church gave him responsibilities.

    I think that’s a huge difference in how I grew up with how the IFB does things. I was shocked by the lack of spiritual growth of the men especially at BJU – the guys of my acquaintance had been given preaching responsibilities since they were young teenagers and could preach better than most of the seminary staff at BJU.

  11. Imagine becoming a preacher boy at 36.
    It was demeaning and I refused to be addressed as such.
    I stand 6’2 at about 240. Preaching professionals want to avoid bruises.
    Unfortunately I had little respect for protocol and I addressed chapel about the dryness of the spiritual environment and how I had neve experienced a more needy (in every aspect) group in my life.
    It did not go over well.
    I prayed that God would remove the cup and use me in other ways. He has.
    I have strong doubts about pastoral authority but I am certain there is a high degree of narcissim in their ranks.

  12. The gum scraper must be a PCC thing. BJU was too lofty to consider such a task for the lofty preacher boy.

    You’re right about the mystical call.


  13. I wonder how many sincere young men have been discouraged by the title “preacher boy?”
    Seems like I remember reading about how God chooses to use the rejected corner stone.

    I hope that as I age tha I continue to grow in the word and the brashness of my youth fades to a lovely shade of meekness.

    By the way, if there is such a thing as ordination that can be given by man, why isn’t it given liberally?

    You might guess that I run a little high on the priesthood of the individual believer. And, that I don’t believe in the pope, the dali lamma or pastorial authority.

    Preach on young men of God. Share the gospell where and when you can. While you are at it, come out from those caught up in arrogance, dipped in status and unwilling to join you scraping gum from beneath the seats.

    Nothing is possible with our God!

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