Before I went off to Bible College in ’78, I worked for a year as a car salesman, selling new and used cars and trucks. I wanted a job that gave me selling experience because I thought it might help me in dealing with people. That was one ‘crazy’ year as I got a first-hand look inside the car industry. I remember the other salesmen used to say, “You don’t have to be dishonest to sell cars, but it sure helps!” (That was one piece of advice I did NOT adhere to.)
But one thing I DID learn that year was something I read in a book entitled, ‘How To Sell Anything To Anybody’, written by the world’s greatest car salesman, Joe Girard.
A fascinating guy, Joe spoke of his early days selling and how so many of the other salesmen just ‘waited around’ for customers to come in, while Joe was calling people out of the phone book (hey, remember those?) and getting them to come in asking for him. The other salesmen would just stand around the water-cooler telling jokes. Joe referred to them in his book as the ‘Dope Gang’ – guys that had more jokes than initiative.
Over the years, I never forgot that lesson, and I’ve read the Biblical version of it in Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. (In fact, Solomon talked a lot of this sort of thing in Proverbs.)
Look down at your hands and ask what they have been up to last week. Are they the hands of the diligent?
It pains me to say that there’s a ‘Dope Gang’ in the Gospel ministry. I’m speaking of pastors who get together and spend more time on the golf course than on their knees with God. They waste their precious time and energies on molehills and non-essentials and things that bring forth little to no fruit for the Lord. They may even have big churches (nothing wrong with that), but what do they really accomplish every week??
Now, having just said what I said, I would also hasten to say there are times when a good man has overworked himself and needs some time aside to putter in his garden or workshop. There are times when a discouraged pastor, after having tried everything he knows to try, suffers a ‘brain-freeze’ and resorts to the golf course.
So, what are we pastors to do when our churches refuse to grow, souls refuse to get saved, Mr. Calabash didn’t like the sermon, and Mrs. McGillicutty is threatening again to leave the church? (Well, for sure don’t join the Dope Gang – that will only take you down further .)
First: spend time alone with God and learn how to cry before Him. Too many of us pastors ‘hold it all in’. Beg God for wisdom to know His will and power to do it. (Get your wife praying for you too!) Second: read, read and read Psalms and Proverbs. Make notes as the Holy Spirit speaks to you. Third: check around and see what other pastors have gone through and are doing. You might pick up some fresh ideas.
Stay in the game!
Your brother in Christ,
Steven J. White
I’d like to invite any Independent Baptist preacher (pastor, missionary, evangelist, or retired) to offer helpful advice, experiences and thoughts that will encourage others in the ministry. I want others to hear what you have to say. If this is of interest to you, please email me your thoughts or suggestions. None of us will get ‘paid’ for any of this, but all of us will get ‘sharpened’.