911 E. Urbandale Drive, Moberly, MO 65270 | 660-263-3900

Issue 8: July 2019

Supply Preachers Help Churches in Need

What do churches do when their minister is sick or on vacation and no one in the church can fill the pulpit? Many churches in Missouri, southern Iowa, and western Illinois call Central Christian College of the Bible to come fill their pulpit.

In the last five years, we have filled the pulpits of 117 churches using 154 different preachers more than 1500 times. (And this doesn’t include ongoing weekend ministries or interim ministries.) Some of the churches just need an occasional fill-in preacher. Other churches requested a fill-in preacher while doing a minister search. Still others can’t afford their own preacher but still meet each week. When these churches call, we are able to send students, professors, alumni, and retired preachers to fill the open pulpits.

The churches we help are not just Christian churches, either. Our preachers have filled pulpits in various denominations and even at community events where they wanted a service but didn’t have anyone to ask. “My goal is to have every pulpit filled each Sunday, but unfortunately that isn’t always possible,”commented Sherry Wallis, who coordinates the supply preachers. As one former supply preacher said, “This program is a win-win-win for churches, the college, and the students.”

“Gifford Christian Church has been blessed with student supply preachers since the 1980s. Our small church as asked CCCB to help us keep the doors open and spread the gospel for a long time. We believe this has been an excellent opportunity for your students to practice how to speak, organize, minister & prepare to be a Christian pastor in a quiet little town. The students come from many different backgrounds and we accept them all in a Christian way. We delight in watching the students mature, grow, and settling into adult life during the time they are with us. We keep in contact after they leave. We are so appreciative of the college’s cooperation in this matter!”

How does this program benefit the college? The supply preaching program allows our male students and staff to be the servant-leaders our churches look to when they have a need. There is no financial gain to the college, because payment goes to the preachers. Some of the churches support the college, but not all of them. The college was created to train church leaders and strengthen local churches. This program does both.

Jason Poznich, Professor of Preaching, commented on the training of preaching students: “We train preaching students using three environments: the home, the local church, and the classroom. We know there are some teachings students can’t learn in the classroom, so I invite them to my home to discuss preaching and leadership. The best way to learn preaching is to preach, so many students are putting their learning to use in the local church. But the classroom is where the bulk of our preaching training will take place. With a new, state-of-the-art preaching center students will receive the best in-class training and practice possible to prepare them for a lifetime of preaching God’s Word to God’s people.”

The state-of-the-art preaching center is being built this summer as a result of the Proclaim Project. The Proclaim Project focuses on three vital improvements for the preaching program:

  • A converted classroom, equipped with technology and furnishings to function like a modern church facility.
  • An expanded online preaching curriculum, bringing together campus students with distance education students.
  • A funded scholarship to encourage those who are already preaching to become students in the preaching program.

The ribbon cutting for the Preaching Center will take place at 11:30 during Heritage Day on Friday, August 30. It is being built with designated gifts from supporters, churches, and charitable foundations.

Student preachers are encouraged to have a few sermons ready for any time there is a need. They often refer to those sermons as a “$1000 sermon” because they can preach the same sermon at several different churches. If the student preachers pass the application and interview process to supply preach, the churches pay them directly to come and fill the pulpit.

Here are a few comments from current and past supply preachers.

“Supply preaching helped me become a better communicator. I learned to understand different audiences.”

“Supply preaching led me to my first weekend ministry with a church I filled in for a few times. They asked me to become their minister when I was 19, and I did.”

“I like to think that I helped some of the smaller churches that couldn’t afford a full time, or even a part time minister, by preaching and teaching God’s Word to a flock that needed shepherding like other churches. It also provided me with a little extra income and the experiences I needed.”

Whenever our students participate in the supply preaching program, they learn confidence and skills that carry on into their future ministries as well. Even the ministers who get a break from their weekly responsibilities see the benefits to the church, the college, and the students.

“I appreciate Central’s ‘Pulpit Supply’ ministry. When I am to be away, it is so easy to contact the College and make arrangements for a speaker. It is much more than a convenience. It provides our congregation a connection with Central. We are always blessed by the professors or students the college sends our way. I could go on and on about wonderful experiences we’ve had during my time here. Our church family always enjoys reunions with professors from days gone by. I always enjoy the positive comments I receive about student ministers when I return home. I encourage our folks to especially embrace and express their delight in young men who are giving thought to pulpit ministry.” Jack Sumption, Minister (1st Christian Church, Memphis, Missouri)

Is your church in need of a supply preacher?

Even if you aren’t near Moberly, please call 660-372-2512 or email Sherry Wallis. We will be happy to try to connect you with a speaker that can meet your needs.


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