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CMA: Training To Be A Minister Of God’s Word

Posted on 23 Sep 2023 by Jeremy Wee

Hey everyone! Jeremy here 🙂 It has been about 6 months since I started the Church Minister’s Apprenticeship (CMA) here in CERC. It started with the desire to love Jesus, do His mission, serve Him and His church, because indeed the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Well, it has been 6 months and I’m glad that this conviction has not been shaken. 

I’ve learnt a lot in the past few months, but let me share today my reflections on preaching because this was probably one of my biggest fears in deciding to pursue the life of a minister. I constantly feared that I’d be preaching heresy.

James 3:1 (ESV)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Preaching is Tough

Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to preach 12 times in various contexts such as Youth Group, Conferences, and Christian Fellowships with the prospect in the coming weeks to preach weekly through the gospel of Mark until October and another series on Biblical Theology from October to December.

The preparation to preach and even plan for an upcoming series made me realize that there is so much reading, thinking, writing, rehearsing and practice that is involved to deliver one 30-minute sermon. Depending on the topic or the passage, the prep can easily take between 20 to 30 hours. I’ve recently had to preach back to back for multiple weeks and honestly, it is just wow…hahah…it is tough for sure, but it is also very rewarding. I honestly am learning alot as I preach, and am also really digging down deep into the Word and working out gospel truths through it all. 

Side note: is an invaluable resource, it is only RM280/year but you have access to countless books and more importantly for a preacher, access to many many commentaries (Checkout if you’re not sure what commentary to go for).

Here’s a snapshot of some of the books I’ve accessed through Perlego. There’s a referral code for a discount but I’m not gonna share it cause I’m genuinely just recommending this for your own good, no strings attached hahah. Trust me, even if you’re not preaching, this is an invaluable resource to anyone planning to study their Bibles better and have access to many many books, it has plenty of secular books as well, not just Christian books. 

Preaching is Absolutely Necessary

I’ve learnt that preaching is not just about studying content and then regurgitating it out and is not an information download but is instead making God’s Word known to man, making Christ himself known! Preaching then naturally convicts our hearts because we bring a sinful person face-to-face with God who is holy. Preaching is absolutely necessary. Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones, one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century says this:

“I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and the most urgent need in the Church, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also.”

The only way Christians and churches can grow is through the preaching of the Word of God. Jesus’s ministry was built on preaching, the church was built on preaching, and the church will continue to grow through preaching.

Good Preaching is Scarce

Now even with all that said, I do find that good preaching is scarce. This is a controversial point but this is not just a personal sentiment, I’ve spoken to many Christians and heard many other theologians share their concern for this global epidemic. For some quick resources, you can check out Michael Horton’s “Christless Christianity” or David Well’s “No Place For Truth” or the Alliance of Confessing Evangelical’s Cambridge Declaration.

There is a lot to say on this point but I think in Malaysia, the greatest threat we face is in preaching that is either focused on the prosperity gospel or one that is moralistic and therapeutic, both of which lose the heart of the gospel message. Here are a few points from Dr. Albert Mohler’s (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) article on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.” 

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about ones self.” 

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.” 

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

Being Trained to Preach

All in all, being in CMA has definitely opened my eyes to the realities of Word ministry, it being tough, necessary, and scarce are just but a few points to mention. The harvest is plentiful and laborers are few, CMA has definitely been a humbling time to be trained to be a better minister of God’s Word. Preaching is just one part of handling God’s Word, much more could be said about leading bible studies, 1-on-1 discipleship, or even just our personal bible reading. 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to work together with Robin and the other Pastors-in-Training to be trained to be a better minister of God here in Malaysia. 

Thank you for reading up to this point 🙂 I hope this tiny bit of my reflections has encouraged you, my dear reader. Please do keep me in prayer as well as I continue to learn to handle God’s Word, preach it and teach it.