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PreacherPreacher. I used to be one. Whether when living at home or when at college or when married, for most of my life, preaching has put food on my table. As I transition out of full-time preaching, I’m facing one of the most painful times in my life; you see, I love preaching and I sorely miss the opportunity to open up Scripture to those who hear me. God loves preaching, too – in fact, His own Son was a preacher and began proclaiming the gospel of God after John’s arrest (Mk 1:14-15).

As I give thanks to God for the bountiful blessings in my life, I would be most foolish to ignore the influence preachers have had in my life.

Several preachers have influence me as I have sought to grow in the grace and knowledge of God:

  • My father, Randy ImelDad taught me prayer: I can’t tell you how many times I saw him in prayer, and I learned that prayer comes before preaching. I learned faith: Dad left a good job to preach because he trusted God and knew God needed him in the pulpit. I learned a love of the Word: Dad didn’t spend time preaching pop psychology or other junk, but he preached the Word of God.
  • Dr. Bill BagentsBill is one of the most humble and servant-minded men I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing: He serves without any desire to be noticed, and he’s willing to do whatever he can to help whomever he can.
  • Joseph PauleyJoe taught me a new way of preaching: he taught me to teach people, not the Bible. Oh, I don’t at all mean that preaching centers on people, not on the Word of God: anything like that does not deserve to be called preaching. But, Joe taught me to take the text and help people understand how the Word impacted their lives on Monday morning. My emphasis moved away from great oratory about some nuance in Greek syntax (no kidding – my wife said that I was far too scholarly and preached over people’s heads before I started listening to Joe) and moved to how that nuance in Greek syntax helped the people of God walk in the light. That’s important, and I’ll always be grateful to Joe for that lesson.
  • Cory CollinsCory taught me a love of people. Cory encourages people: that’s the gift God gave him in abundance. Cory taught me to look for the good in people, to highlight that good, and to encourage people to make their good even more good.

I’ve mentioned preachers who have greatly influenced my outlook on life, but there are many others who have played their own role. I have been privileged to hear some of the greatest preachers in the brotherhood: Phil Sanders, Dale Jenkins, Glenn Colley, Tom Holland, Basil Overton, David Underwood, Jerry Davidson, and Charles Coil.

Facebook is a great tool for being encouraged. There are brothers whom I have never heard in person (some of whom I have never met in the flesh) who encourage me by the great work they are doing in the kingdom: Scott Elliott, Steven Hunter, Michael Whitworth, James Farris, Adam Faughn, and Wes McAdams, for example.

God chose the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe (1 Cor 1:21). May God continue to bless the preaching of His Word!

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