The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa —the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
The words of Amos, who was among the sheepherders of Tekoa,…
King James Bible
The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa,…
New King James Version
The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa,…
Should preachers be introduced to the congregation? If not, why not? If yes, how elaborate should the introduction be? What should be mentioned and what should not be mentioned? To introduce or not to introduce preachers?
The total absence of introduction will create a disconnect between preacher and congregation. A new preacher who is unknown will distract listeners as they wonder who he is as the sermon progresses. The introduction helps the congregation connect with the preacher and appreciate where he/she is approaching the subject from. An adequate introduction should meet the need to connect the preacher with the congregation.
The problem is with excessive introduction. Where the host seeks to please the preacher by good words. When the purpose shifts from connecting preacher and congregation to making the preacher feel good, the introduction has failed. Sometimes event organizers want to use the preacher’s resume to show that they have gotten the best and they should be celebrated for getting such a speaker. Again in such an instance, the introduction has failed in its purpose.
There are times when it is preachers who insist on being excessively introduced. Many times such preachers are filing in what they lack in content. When the import of your speech is who you are and not what you are saying, then you are no longer a preacher, you have no message. Should listeners be awed by your achievements or should the message impact them?
There are moments when the introduction is designed to inspire and motivate the listeners. When school going kids are encouraged to go as far in their studies as the preacher. It is in order to introduce a speaker with such intentions, however, the preacher should strive to reach the set mark, lest the listeners develop contempt for the achievements and consequently distract the message.
The point of connection between the preacher may not be the same for each member of the congregation. Some May connect with the fact that the preacher is married. Some may connect with the fact that the preacher’s hobby is tending flowers. Some may connect with the preacher’s work experience or academic achievements. The host introducing the guest should know what would most likely matter in this particular congregation. Not everything has to be said and not everything has to be left out.
Amos is introduced to us in these intriguing words. That he is one of the shepherds from Tekoa. The introduction is necessary but deliberately deflects attention from the preacher to the message. For those who totally dislike introductions, their position has no precedence in scripture. The Bible is full of introductions of the prophets and apostles. Amos is introduced to us as one of the shepherds from Tekoa.
1 Kings 17:1
Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God —
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,…
The above examples are among many of the introductions of the servant to us. You can’t rule out the need for an introduction. Even in a congregation where everyone knows the speaker, it is possible there could be a visitor who needs to know the preacher in order to appreciate the message. To totally reject introductions is seeking cheap publicity of seeming to be holier than others. Human nature requires some information in order to fully appreciate what a person is talking about.
Now that we have established that an introduction is necessary and not a luxury, we must now ask how it should be done. We learn from Amos and other Bible introductions that the introduction should be sufficient to let us know about the messenger and well thought to deflect attention from the person to the message.
From the introduction of Amos, we know that he is from Tekoa. We can therefore associate him with all that we know about Tekoa. He is from a rural place in the countryside. That introduction also tells us that he is a shepherd. Before we think of him as a leading shepherd and expert in the business of pastoralism, before we think of how great a shepherd he is, we are directed away from him. He is one of the shepherds. He is not different from others. There is nothing unique about him, except the message he brings to us. Amos is introduced but we are left directed back to the message he is carrying. That is how introductions are!
The varied introductions in scripture show that we do not need to copy anyone and use it as a standard for all. Sometimes we wrongly want a standard to copy so that using it we police others, condemn others, and rate ourselves highly. We do not have a standard introduction for anyone to copy. What we have are first introductions to show that we can’t do away with them. Secondly, we have introductions that do not distract us from the message. Those two principles should govern how we do introductions.
May these lessons of humility, relevance, and focus be the hallmark of our lives as believers, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
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