Jerry Hill, again, in his book about their work in Guatemala, which I’m enjoying:
A chain of events like this begins with someone preaching the gospel. It is predictable that important reactions will occur. It is impossible to know what they will be, whom they will involve or where they may lead. The preacher will be disappointed at times that his plans for certain people in certain places were not realized. But he will be elated many times over when the unpredicted events bring in people, at places, and with results that no one foresaw. I believe this is fundamental to preaching the gospel to all the world in each generation: preach, and follow the leads! p. 44.
Great advice! God will open doors that we never dreamed of.
We haven’t learned this lesson yet. Actually, it’s ignored. There are unspiritual interests behind this practice that continue to harm the church.
By that time, we had heard of others who had been sent to the U. S. to study who would not go back home. We began thinking that it was not a good idea to educate our converts in the U. S. For one thing, you lose all they could have contributed to the local work during the time they were gone. Too, the local studies would be tailored to local needs, while in a foreign college, the foreign curriculum would be followed. And if they didn’t come back at all? Or if they came back with an attitude? No, we thought the church would be better off if we taught them ourselves.
Jerry Hill shared a negative experience that convinced them of this.
Reading Jerry Hill’s book on their work in Guatemala. He wrote on page 23,
That preaching [in the book of Acts] was not our Sunday morning and evening lecture to believers. We’re prone to interpret biblical activities by our present practices. The word preach is used in Spanish and English versions to relate how Philip communicated the gospel to the eunuch (Acts 8:35) and how it was related from house to house (20:20), at Paul’s prison-house (28:1), as well as situations that involved many hearers (9.20). During my lifetime, it seems to me that preaching is the common verb used to express what happens in a church service and a campaign. We may overlook that those who teach their spouse or neighbor the gospel are preaching in a biblical sense. And aren’t those who do so preachers? We thought we saw in these simple truths that Guatemalan preachers were going to be prepared more quickly than the modern orator that each congregation likes to have and call the preacher nowadays. It seemed, too, that there should be no limit on the number of preachers in a church.
He’s spot on about the way Americans use the words preaching and preacher. It’s a bad reflection on the church. Very bad. Points up some unbiblical practices.