Vol. 8, No. 1
~ Page 15 ~
Several years ago, I received (okay, took) a cassette from my dad's library. In fact, there were several of these cassettes that I "borrowed" from him when I first started preaching (and maybe some from before) that he hasn't seen since (though, after reading this, he will be reminded). Among these, the most prominent were of Tom Holland, while he preached for the Crieve Hall Church of Christ during the 1980's.
As I became acquainted with his preaching, I was impressed with the simplicity and directness of his thoughts, and his ability to expound Scriptures. I probably learned no less from those cassettes than I did at my own father's feet for twenty years. At times, I played them in my little handheld walkman (without headphones) because my car did not have a cassette player.
Little did I know that brother Holland and I would meet again. In the fall of 2002, with family in tow, I entered the West Virginia School of Preaching, Moundsville, WV. As I began studying the work and art of preaching under my beloved brother Charles C. Pugh, III, we were required to read none other than brother Holland's books, The Work of the Preacher is Working, and Preaching: Principles and Practices. I came to learn later that brother Holland was a rather prolific author, having written about sixty books to my last knowledge. Along with many others, brother Holland has been with me in nearly every sermon I have ever written or spoken, all because my dad never once gave me heartache over tampering with his library.
While in school, we lived in a little three-bedroom apartment. My office consisted of whatever wares I needed to accomplish the task, and the other half was a "toy room" for the kids. It was barely big enough to turn around in. While I would never promote this type of study environment long-term, it served its purposes then. One of my classmates asked me how I dealt with the small children being around when I studied. I told him I didn't let it bother me much, and when I had serious study to do, I waited until they went to bed; otherwise, I let them be.
Now most of my library is in the church building, but I hope to keep our children interested in the wisdom and voices of the past and present by keeping an "open-door" policy about the treasures I have found. To think, my preaching career began with the sheer boredom of a teenager, and my dad's open library. I pray our children find the same treasures in our lives. But you don't have to be a preacher or have a preacher's library to plant seeds; you just have to be willing to send them the message any way you can. I am convinced that how we view preaching and preachers will not just influence, it will decide who will value preaching and preachers in the future.