A Mentor's Recommendations, Part 2

Reprinted with permission from As I See It. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1.

5. Begin a chronological list of every Bible message you teach or preach, noting text (or topic), date, place, occasion and attendance (estimate this latter figure). Again, this can be kept manually or on computer (but be sure and regularly back up and keep a copy remotely if you do). This list is valuable for a number of reasons—it will keep you from giving the same message to the same audience (I’ve done that before!); negatively, it will show you what subjects you have neglected to teach or preach. I did not start to keep such a list until the early 1990s when I began going to Romania (there it proved essential, since I speak so often in so many places—in some places just once, in others hundreds of times). Your list can also be consulted when you are looking for a message topic or text—in the nature of the case, I taught the same lesson to jail inmates about once every 7-8 months when I was active in that ministry, since there was constant turnover in the jail, and many Biblical passages are ideally suited for such an audience. When I was preparing for a Bible study at the jail and was stuck for a text or topic, consulting my list brought ideas immediately to mind.

And keep on file a copy of every outline you prepare, though I will admit to having trouble deciding how to file them—in Biblical order by text? In chronological order by date? In logical order by topic? A copy under each of these orders? Because I often have trouble deciding, many of my hardcopy outlines are conserved in a jumbled stack several inches thick.

6. Read well-selected periodicals. I receive about 8-10 periodicals (some monthly, some bimonthly, some quarterly), some I read all through, others just what interests me. Among those I read are The Biblical Evangelist edited by Robert Sumner; Acts & Facts from the Institute of Creation Research; Answers from Answers in Genesis; Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Biblical Archaeology Review; and a small handful of others. Let me also recommend to you “As I See It” which I edit and publish myself. It is impossible to read anything more than a small fraction of the flood of periodic literature, but reading from it selectively will help you keep current with trends and news, etc. By the way, I don’t read the daily newspaper, partly because its news is mostly stale, and I don’t like the leftist political slant of the local paper (I get most of my news electronically—television, radio, Internet). The newspaper can also be quite time-consuming. (G. Campbell Morgan never read the newspaper in the morning—he reserved that time for his ministry studies.)

7. Prepare a plan of what you currently think you want to do ministry-wise for the next 5, 10, 20 and 50 years (such schemes are always subject to revision and mid-course changes). And then write out the means necessary to reach these goals. Having specific aims, goals, or direction always motivates me to try just a bit harder and achieve a bit more.

8. Make it a fixed purpose in your heart that you will study and learn as opportunity presents itself (or as you make your own opportunity) Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, plus one or two modern foreign languages (Spanish and German are both good, as would be French or Italian or Romanian—the list is endless!). Knowledge of languages, besides facilitating Bible study, will greatly improve your knowledge and mastery of English, and enhance your writing and speaking style. The older I get, the more I value my knowledge of foreign languages, and the more I see the need to expand it yet more.

9. Begin writing regularly—topical studies, technical research papers, devotional articles, etc. Then go back and revise, correct, improve, etc. (and keep a list of all your writings that get published). At first, you might find it beneficial to imitate the style of one or more good writers, as you develop your own style. The spoken word is ephemeral at best; the written word is more permanent. “The writing that men do lives after them.”

10. Keep a daily and an annual list of your Bible reading—I do this on a pocket calendar. In my case, I record any chapters completed, and the language read in (last year I read more of the Bible in Spanish, and Romanian than in English, and almost as much in German). At the end of the year, I compile the numbers and examine them. This will help you evaluate your Bible reading. Again, reading intensively (closely and carefully) is better than merely reading extensively (much, but not with attention). Not uncommonly, I may read the same Bible chapter four times in a single day, in as many different languages. This compels close attention, and yields a fuller understanding than a single reading, or even multiple readings, in English alone. It would also be worth your while over a period of years to read in their entirety four or five of the best English versions—NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, etc.—regardless of what version you regularly read from.

11. Begin a topical filing system for the collection of clippings, articles, etc. on topics that are likely to come up in your ministry or that interest you, and make a separate folder for each topic (my filing system, in some disarray, probably has 500-800 separate folders, maybe more, in half a dozen filing cabinets. I’ve been needing to up-date it, purge it of some extraneous stuff, and reorganize it, but how much fun would that be?).

12. Become “expert” in one or more areas that interest you—I myself have an above-average knowledge of Spurgeon, Baptist history, Bible versions, textual criticism, the American Civil War, Scientific creationism and apologetics, trees and grasses, agriculture and gardening, linguistics and Samuel Johnson. I have read and continue to read extensively in these areas. (On the other hand, I know next to nothing about counseling, church growth techniques, church administration, Oriental history and culture, oceanography, etc.)

In all of these suggestions, there is the common thread of progress in usefulness, growth in knowledge, efficiency in ministry, and avoiding that deadly sin of stagnation. This isn’t all the advice I have to give, but it is a start.


Doug Kutilek is the editor of www.kjvonly.org, a website dedicated to exposing and refuting the many errors of KJVOism and has been researching and writing in the area of Bible texts and versions for more than 35 years. He has a B.A. in Bible from Baptist Bible College (Springfield, Mo.), an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati; and completed all requirements for a Ph.D. except the dissertation); and a Th.M. in Bible exposition from Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, Minn.). His writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Biblical Evangelist, The Baptist Bible Tribune, The Baptist Preacher’s Journal, Frontline, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society and The Wichita Eagle. The father of four grown children and four granddaughters, he resides with his wife Naomi near Wichita, Kansas.

3703 reads

There are 14 Comments

Don Johnson's picture

I have made a few half-hearted attempts at paper filing systems. I would have to say... give up this idea. It only works for certain sorts of minds.

But I have discovered that saving articles to pdf and then being able to retrieve them by Google Desktop search or even just plain Windows search is really amazing. And it beats all that sorting and thinking. Just save it to pdf in your "Illustrations" folder and you are done. (I do add keywords to file names, but I don't think that is actually necessary with the good modern search engines.)

And one of my favorite places to find illustrations is MSNBC's Weird News. I'm on the RSS feed. You get some amazing illustrations in search of a sermon from that source.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dmicah's picture

these two articles have included some of the most practical information i have ever read on this site...thanks.

one little thing i would add to this list is to keep a digital recording of your sermons if possible. I have looked over decade old outlines and forgotten the details of an illustration prompt. Having a recording can refresh the memory.

thanks again for the reminders to institute systematic planning into life and ministry.

skjnoble's picture

Thanks for putting your experience into writing. So helpful! Kim Noble Smile

Jay's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
I have made a few half-hearted attempts at paper filing systems. I would have to say... give up this idea. It only works for certain sorts of minds.

But I have discovered that saving articles to pdf and then being able to retrieve them by Google Desktop search or even just plain Windows search is really amazing. And it beats all that sorting and thinking. Just save it to pdf in your "Illustrations" folder and you are done. (I do add keywords to file names, but I don't think that is actually necessary with the good modern search engines.)


Don,

Is there a program that you use to save everything as PDF's? I think this would be far better than the paper filing systems that everyone taught me about a couple years ago.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Hi Jay

I use Acrobat itself, although there are other pdf print drivers available. Acrobat is a bit pricey, but I really like it. If you can't afford Acrobat, search on Acrobat print drivers and you should be able to come up with something. I think Nuance sells something called pdf Maker for $99 or so.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Jay, when I'm in Windows I use Primo PDF... free and easy to use.
http://www.primopdf.com/index.aspx

(In Linux, it's built into the Gnome desktop so I just print-to-file).

I've also found paper filing to be ineffective for me. I never use what I've got filed on paper because a., it's usually very old and comes from an era when my work was pretty pathetic, b., nothing is ever located where I expect. It made sense to file it under "eschatology" at the time, but when I stumble on to it, I'm going "What was I thinking?"

So keeping it in electronic form has worked much better, along w/a good indexer/search tool. Some of you might like Copernic Desktop Search. I don't use it anymore but they used to have a free version that I liked alot better than Google Desktop http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/professional/index.ht...

I index in Linux now and use a tool called Recoll. A bit rough around the edges but it finds stuff and that's what counts.

MShep2's picture

Of course, if you have a Mac "Save as PDF" (or "Preview" and only save the pages you want) is a standard feature of the "Print" dialogue. Then, searching with "Spotlight" (also included in the OS) makes finding things quick and easy. Biggrin

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Or you could buy a pc for half the cost of a Mac, put Linux on it for free and then print to .pdf... and also not have the "Our way or highway" Apple Overlords telling you what apps you can use and not use. Biggrin (Don't even get me started on Microsoft though!)

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Or you could buy a pc for half the cost of a Mac, put Linux on it for free and then print to .pdf... and also not have the "Our way or highway" Apple Overlords telling you what apps you can use and not use. Biggrin (Don't even get me started on Microsoft though!)

That's just it, though! Because of the "Our way or the highway" philosophy of Apple, that company represents true fundamentalism. The PC (either Personal Computer or Politically Correct would be appropriate) way of "any way you can get it done," clearly represents the New Evangelical outlook.

So there it is. Use a Mac, or you are no true fundamentalist! Smile

Dave Barnhart

MShep2's picture

dcbii wrote:
That's just it, though! Because of the "Our way or the highway" philosophy of Apple, that company represents true fundamentalism. The PC (either Personal Computer or Politically Correct would be appropriate) way of "any way you can get it done," clearly represents the New Evangelical outlook.

So there it is. Use a Mac, or you are no true fundamentalist! Smile

Amen! Preachit! :bigsmile: Finally, someone who understands the spiritual implications of using those Windoze Bleah PCs. Biggrin

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Jamie Hart's picture

Jay C. wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
I have made a few half-hearted attempts at paper filing systems. I would have to say... give up this idea. It only works for certain sorts of minds.

But I have discovered that saving articles to pdf and then being able to retrieve them by Google Desktop search or even just plain Windows search is really amazing. And it beats all that sorting and thinking. Just save it to pdf in your "Illustrations" folder and you are done. (I do add keywords to file names, but I don't think that is actually necessary with the good modern search engines.)


Don,

Is there a program that you use to save everything as PDF's? I think this would be far better than the paper filing systems that everyone taught me about a couple years ago.

You can also use CUTEpdf printer. It's also free and does a great job.
I love this idea. We are doing some remodelling and will be moving the offices. The guys encouraged me to move my files to pdfs. Fortunately, our copier (Savin 8025) will quickly scan any document to a pdf and then e-mail it to me! I've put all my old class notes, counseling conf. notes, to PDF. And boy do pdfs look pretty on the iPad!

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Depending on the software involved, the resulting pdf's will not necessarily index. The file names will index, but I've noticed that some pdf files are essentially a big photo and the words and characters are not recognized (and therefore not indexed by search tools). Hand written notes, for example, will not index by contents because the handwriting will not be recognized as words. I've seen "typed" text go that way, too, but I don't know enough about it to know why. I suspect that there is a separate optical character recognition process that some pdf-makers do and some don't.

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.