Image for Young Ministers Need Older Encouragers

Young Ministers Need Older Encouragers

Photo of David UpchurchDavid Upchurch | Bio

David Upchurch

David Upchurch has served as Director of Church Ministries at Lincoln Christian University since January 1, 2012. He is an alumnus of Lincoln Christian University (BA 1980, MA 2017). David served for 32 years in four churches in Illinois and Kentucky before joining LCU. He served on the board of a mission organization called ACM International for 25 years and has traveled to several countries in Africa 13 times, as well as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Haiti, and Mexico. David has been married to his wife Cindy for 39 years. They have three adult children and five grandchildren.

In Titus 2:6-7 the Apostle Paul writes these words:

“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.”

Earlier this year, I attended the funeral for a man named Paul Ayers. He was 94 years old. He wasn’t famous or even very well-known outside a 20-mile radius of his home.

But he had a huge impact for the Kingdom of God.

Paul was a lifetime member and long-time elder at a little country church called South Fork, which is where I grew up. I don’t remember a single communion meditation he offered or a prayer he prayed (and there were many).

But I remember how he made me feel. I remember his smile. I remember the encouragement he gave me.

For decades, Paul was an elder and encourager for ministers and youth ministers such as Marion Henderson, Mark Scott, Fred Johnson, Dan Clymer, Del Donaldson, Jerry Clark, Mike Breaux, Mike Nichols, and Ed Plumier–to mention just a few.

All too often, I see ministers drop out of ministry because church leaders have been a source of discouragement instead of encouragement.

So I look at what all these former ministers at South Fork have accomplished for the Kingdom, and I would suggest that whatever they have done has Paul Ayers’s fingerprints all over those accomplishments.

So I am thankful for Paul’s life and pray that God will raise up many church leaders like him throughout our churches today.

I pray that young ministers just starting out in ministry will have elders like Paul who will offer patience, guidance, and encouragement.

I pray that older ministers, who might be feeling some discouragement in their lives and ministries, would have someone like Paul to remind them that what they do matters–and to hang in there.

I pray that our churches will be led by elders who set an example by living out the words of the Apostle Paul. That, by doing what is good and offering encouragement to their ministers, they will make an impact for the Kingdom.