January brings with it the inauguration of a new President of the United States — and the start of a new campaign to elect the next President in 1992.
The media gave bushels of attention in 1988 to two preachers who were running for the nation’s highest office: Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson. (I know Pat handed in his ordination papers, but he has once again taken up his electronic pulpit.) Many political commentators even argue that Jackson is the early favorite for the Democratic nomination in ’92.
While it may seem odd to think of a preacher serving as chief executive of the land, it could be that the pulpit offers the best training ground available for a presidential candidate in the 1990’s.
For one thing, the President must be a communicator — but he can’t communicate too much. Will he raise taxes? Will he slash favorite programs? The candidate must perform verbal acrobatics to sound decisive without being too direct. Sounds like some stewardship sermons I’ve heard.
A President must also be able to balance the conflicting wishes of different interest groups. Who is better prepared for that duty than the minister who regularly resolves bitter debates between the choir and the 65-80 year-old ladies class when both groups want to use the fellowship hall at the same time? That takes a master conciliator!
One of the most significant requirements for a presidential candidate is the ability to look good on television. More and more, preachers are becoming accomplished masters of the tube. Before long, blow dryers and red neckties will be issued to all seminarians upon graduation.
When it comes to dealing with the federal bureaucracy, a preacher-president should have no problem after learning to work through church committees. And political nominating conventions look like a cake walk compared to most denominational conventions these days.
In fact, the one problem I foresee for the preacher who is elected President is boredom. After years of preparing multiple sermons and Bible studies, counseling, administration, denominational activities and so on, running the country should be a breeze.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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