Still At It

“You Still Preaching?”

I don’t hear it too much any more, but I used to hear it rather frequently. Family members, old friends, former acquaintances, and the average person I never wanted to see again would come up to me and ask, “Hey, you still preaching?”

Maybe it’s the thing to do. Maybe it is customary to ask a person if they are still doing what they were doing the last time you saw them. It makes sense. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked,

  • “Are you still unemployed?”
  • “You still sick with that sickness thing?”
  • “You still married?”
  • “You still running off at the mouth about things you know nothing about?”
  • “You still planning to party with Hitler for eternity?”

I just don’t get why people ask if I am still preaching. It’s like they think I’ll change my mind or walk away from the ministry, or something.

Some Statistics

In reality, it’s not that unreasonable to ask someone who once accepted the call to ministry if he is still preaching. Even though it sorta feels like an insult, I shouldn’t be surprised by other people’s shock. I mean, it has been nearly 30 years since I made my calling public. I’ve known more than one who have walked away the first year.

If more people knew the statistics, few would would ever enter the ministry. Stop and think about it, would you enter a career with the highest rate of heart attacks? Would you take out student loans for a degree that demands you work multiple jobs? Consider these sad facts…

  • 70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only fifty percent still felt called.
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 80% of adult children of pastors surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression.
  • 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.

Still Preaching

Yet, I’m still preaching. It may surprise people who haven’t seen me in a while, but I’m still doing the Lord’s work and still following the call I first heard when I was 16. It may sound strange, but I can’t help it.

“But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” – Jeremiah 20:9 NLT

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9:16 KJV

photo (16)Today is the anniversary of my father’s death. Not long ago I went to his grave and placed my Bible on his tombstone. There, glistening in the sun, were the gilded words “Rev. Anthony C. Baker.”

“Daddy,” I said, “I’m still at it.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Faith, ministry, Preaching, Struggles and Trials

4 responses to “Still At It

  1. My parents just celebrated 30 years this past fine Monday (which, as I type this, is still today for me). This August will be 13 years since I begrudgingly accepted the call. The only thing that has happened over the years, as I prepare to enter Seminary this August, is I must say the same thing quoted above:

    “But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” – Jeremiah 20:9 NLT

    “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9:16 KJV

  2. (My dog managed to submit that before I was done!)

    I am glad you are still at it! Keep strong in the Lord, and I know both Daddy’s are proud!

  3. Anthony, I can’t wait to see you and your father together in heaven. That will be a sight. Do you have any MP3’s of your messages? If so, would you email me? If your preaching is anything like your blog material, it is straightforward, pulls no punches, makes no apologies but is Biblically sound and given in a spirit of love, even if it delivers a hard to swallow truth.

  4. My daddy is still at it at 82 years of age Anthony. Like you he heard the call in his teens, but had to wait until after national service in the Royal Navy to go to college. In those days a student could not be married, so he and my mother waited four years until dad finished his studies at Spurgeon’s College before they were married. I was born just under eleven months later! Since allegedly retiring 17 years ago dad has continued to preach, and due to a shortage of preachers in the Methodist circuit where he lives seems to be preaching more than ever. And last Sunday his grandson (my eldest son Nick) preached morning and evening in his church.

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