The Located Preacher

Text: 2 Timothy 4:5

Timothy was told to “do the work of an evangelist.” But how would this be done? There are different theories among brethren about having a “located preacher.” Many (perhaps most) congregations of God’s people have a located preacher. Some practice “mutual edification.” What does the Bible say on this topic?

The Matter of Authority

  • Fundamental question – Is there authority for a congregation to have a located preacher?
  • Not – Is it common? … in many instances, the majority may be wrong (Matthew 7:13-14)
  • Not – Is it convenient? … we must all be working, not paying a preacher to work in place of us (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • Not – Is it helpful? … important consideration, but not primary (1 Corinthians 10:23)
  • We must have authority for all that we do in service to God (Colossians 3:17) – this issue is no different

Possible Ways an Evangelist May Operate

  • An evangelist may work with an established  congregation for an extended period of time – this is usually called a “located preacher”
  • An evangelist may travel from place to place planting new churches, then moving on after a brief stay
  • An evangelist may work with several congregations in a city/region

Is There Authority for a “Located Preacher”?

  • No prohibition against having a “located preacher” – we should be careful here because something can be unauthorized even without a specific prohibition (Hebrews 7:14); but it’s worth noting in light of the next point
  • There is no uniform pattern for how an evangelist is to operate – some traveled planting churches (Acts 14:21-23); some worked with more than one congregation in an area (Titus 1:5); some worked with a congregation for an extended period of time (Acts 20:31; 1 Timothy 1:3; Acts 8:40 – 21:8)
  • Having a “located preacher” is a matter of expediency (1 Corinthians 10:23) – authorized, but not required

Potential Dangers of a “Located Preacher”

  • Those who oppose the concept of a “located preacher” cite certain dangers that may arise – potential dangers do not prohibit a practice, but they are worthy of consideration
  • The “pastor mentality” – the idea that the preacher is the leader in the church; elders are to oversee (Acts 20:28); we are not to follow men, but Christ (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)
  • Congregational dependence – the idea that the only way the lost are taught is if the preacher does it; all Christians have a role to play in this (1 Peter 3:15; Acts 8:4)

A “Located Preacher” is Unnecessary

  • A congregation can survive without a “located preacher” (Acts 15:36)
  • But there are challenges – teaching done in the assembly (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:3-5); upholding the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)
  • Role of elders – shepherd & feed the flock (Acts 20:28); must be apt to teach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)

A “Located Preacher” is Helpful

  • For evangelism (Acts 19:8-10)
  • For edification (Ephesians 4:11-12, 16)
  • For training (2 Timothy 2:2)


  • A “located preacher” is authorized as an expedient, but it is not required
  • Therefore, each congregation must determine what authorized option will best help it do its work – then, we must not take our authorized expedient & bind it upon others

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.