This generation of pastors need to know Vance Havner
One of the more visible aspects of worship services are the preachers. Many will go past other church buildings to get to the church where they want to hear a particular preacher. I know I have been blessed the past few years to hear great preachers like Morris, Graham, Jeffress, Greear, Swindoll, Chandler, and more. And add to those the video sermons (either online or at satellite campuses) of Furtick, MacArthur, MacDonald, Groeschel, and Houston.
Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a move to get preachers that “fit an image” or look a certain way. That physically fit, wonderful marriage, well behaved kids, 40ish, etc. type of image draws people. But one of my favorite preachers doesn’t fit that mold. He was small in stature and unassuming in appearance. He had little formal education but was always studying the Word. He started preaching at age 12 and did it all his life. He had that North Carolina draw that sounded more like Mayberry than a polished pulpiteer. But if you heard him, you would hear the fire in his soul that burned to proclaim a prophetic word to the church today. And the prophetic word he did proclaim.
When it comes to worship, and to choosing a church, this is critical – do not compromise on the pulpit. Make sure the sermons are from the whole counsel of His Word, not a feel good, lift you up only motivational speech. Every worship should have a time to feed the soul – and our nourishment is from the Word only.
So, this preacher was Vance Havner. He was a favorite in preaching circuits and conferences. Billy Graham spoke at his funeral.
My father knew him. And from what I remember, Havner preached at my father’s churches multiple times through the years. Maybe it was their mutual Tar Heel Connectix I have read several of his 30 plus books. And now I am challenged to get them all.
He was full of funny one-liners that would be simple enough to put on a Pinterest pin, funny enough to make one laugh, but convicting enough to stop one in their tracks. So let me share just some, and maybe these will encourage go read more from this man …
Taking it easy is often the prelude to backsliding. Comfort precedes collapse.
Too many are willing to sit at God’s table but not work in his field.
Some preachers ought to put more fire into their sermons or more sermons into the fire.
Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.
Prophets are almost extinct in the religious world today. The modern church is a ‘non-prophet’ organisation. (sic)
If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven; you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world.”
One author shared a thought about his style …
Havner was not politically correct. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, and he was always at his best when preaching to preachers. He thought a group of preachers was like a pile of manure. Spread it around and you will get a harvest. Keep it all in one place and you will draw flies. Get the picture?
A new generation of preachers would benefit from being introduced to Havner. We all would. So find some of his wisdom, and then share with others.
Be bold, be Biblical … todd