Five Questions for Kent Hughes
Dr. Hughes’s thirty-five years of ministry divides evenly into ten years as a youth pastor, five years as a church planter, and twenty years as senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, among which are Disciplines of a Godly Man and Liberating Ministry From the Success Syndrome. He is in the midst of a life-long project of completing the Preaching the Word commentary series.
What is the greatest need in preaching today?
Preachers need to read the text and stay submitted to it in their preaching. Doing exegesis is critical and reading commentaries is important — but one can do all of this and not read the text. A pastor needs to hear what God is saying so that as a faithful expositor people know he has read and meditated on the text.
When did you know it was time to retire?
Everyone has a di! erent answer. What determines one person’s decision doesn’t necessarily apply to another…when I pastored in Wheaton I began to observe those who stayed beyond their best years. I saw what it did to diminish their overall ministry. I decided at 50 to retire at 65, no matter what. And I did, while giving my best energy to my final years. I believe I went out at the top of my game and I haven’t looked back.
How do you stay current?
I’ve always made it a practice to read widely. I read important periodicals, be it Atlantic Monthly, Christianity Today, Books and Culture, National Review or American Arts Quarterly. I’ve also tried to read books that are current; in more
recent days I’ve read books like Bounce, Gilead, Words of Life and numerous biographies. I also stay current by reading younger authors like Kevin DeYoung.
What do you miss and not miss in pastoral ministry?
I miss the rigor of preaching. The weekly preparation was my weekly
salvation. Spending hours with truth became a refuge of sanity. I haven’t missed elder meetings and I don’t miss the weekly domestic crises that pastors have to deal with.
You wrote about the “Success Syndrome.” Do you still see this as a significant problem still today?
Most guys have to work through this. Ambition and success in ministry
are real issues, which may explain why more people have responded to this book than almost any of my others. The book came out of a dark night of the soul when I poured out my frustration to my wife. She wrote it down and it became a core part of a manuscript that eventually launched my life into writing.
Dr. Hughes will be teaching our next DMin course at our Portland Campus on March 21-24, 2011. This course is titled : “Preaching and Pastoralia”
Please contact Cris Comp at 503.517.1868 as soon as possible if you would like to be registered for this exciting learning opportunity with Kent and other DMin students. Space is limited.