A North Carolina preacher who has spent nearly seven decades spreading the gospel recently revealed the simple secret he believes is crucial to any preacher’s success.
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“Only love your people,” Rev. Ralph Sproles said WGHP-TV. “If you don’t like people, you won’t be effective in serving.”
This essential lesson is one every pastor should heed, said Sproles, who is in his late 80s and still preaches in revivals and gives occasional sermons. He said that showing love for the congregation—and for people in general—is at the heart of any successful ministry.
“I am a hugging preacher,” he added. “I hug people.”
Sproles also spoke about the importance of intentionally expressing his care and feelings for others, stating that doing so is an expression of true faith and devotion.
He said, “I tell people I love them.” “When I see them in church, I say, ‘I want you to know I love you,’ because they don’t hear enough of it. That’s what the Christian life is about.”
Watch the pastor’s explanation:
Sproles has certainly put these ideals into practice over the course of his decades-long career, as he has not only participated in thousands of weekly sermons but has also presided over 206 weddings and 742 funerals.
The “hugging preacher,” who began giving sermons as an undergraduate in 1954, made his comments during WGHP-TV’s profile segment on his 250th revival.
He also had an important message about culture and the state of contemporary affairs.
“Times have changed, but the message hasn’t,” Sproles said.
Watch him preach and share details of his ministry and life here.