What makes a powerful preacher?
What makes a powerful preacher? It is all hell and brimstone or is it raising their hands to the sky. Does the pews rattle when he screams, "HALLELUJAH" or do tears feel your eyes when he falls down on the pulpit and cries. Oh lordy, how he can make a grown man cry. Well all these things may help, but their is one thing that is different from all of these "normal" things and that is a man who loves God first, last and all the day long. Who is this man?
His name was Brother Bill Nave and he was the most powerful preacher I have ever known in my life. He did more for Grant's Lick, Kentucky than fried catfish did for the world. He was gentle and he kind and he could make the church shake when he preached damnation and eternity, but he was our friend.
He never condemned you for not being a Christian and he never criticized the people who went astray. He would sit with the people and "chew the fat" as we said back then. My dad was a believer, but he would never go to church till he met Brother Bill Nave. All the other preachers daddy knew preached about the end of the world and how daddy was going to the hellfire for not going to church, but not Brother Bill Nave.
Brother Nave had a hard life. He had a daughter who had polio and she was in the bed 90% of the time. He would pray on her and grieved so with the family over her illness. Back then there was no vaccination like there is now. He was good and he was kind and he had two other children. He went from house to house visiting people and everyone and I mean everyone loved this man.
He was not selfish at all. He lived a very simple life with his wife and his three children and never asked for anything from anybody. We had this very traditional church in the country hills. You know the type with a tall steeple and white wood all along the sides. You had to walk up the steps to get to the front door and there still Bro. Nave greeting everyone. I never saw anyone who loved God more than Bro. Nave.
He would come to our house and eat catfish and fries and talk about fishing. He made my dad laugh and then he would make him cry about the stories he told. He never begged, pleaded or screamed about the Lord, he only showed everyone how wonderful God was. So one day daddy got dressed and he went to church with Bro. Bill Nave. Everyone clapped when daddy walked in the doors and they baptised daddy the next week.
Daddy went to church every Sunday until one Sunday Bro. Bill Nave announced that he would be leaving us. He was offered a better position in a large church up north. So the day Bro. Nave left, we all cried. Daddy continue to go to church for awhile, but the new preacher started criticizing and raising "caine" so daddy went away.
We got a letter from Bro. Bill Nave, his son had been in a car accident and was preparing to die. Bro. Bill Nave prayed and prayed for God to save his son's life and take him in his place. Remarkably the son did recover and we were so happy. A few months later Bro. Nave went to spread the gospel in Jerusalem and he caught leprosy. Bro. Bill only lasted a few months and he died with his family surrounding him.
We all cried and wept, but he told us before he died that he was going to his Lord to keep his promise. He love us, his family and God more than life itself. He did what he felt he must and God loved him so much he called him home. I guess he is about as powerful as Billy Graham. I never met anyone like Bro. Nave again and the world cried when he died, but the Angels greeted him with love. I am sure God was waiting at those pearly gates to walk with him to his resting place. So what makes a powerful preacher? Well you must ask God.