‘What the Christian Life Is All About’: Pastor of Nearly 70 Years Reveals Powerful Ministry Secret

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A North Carolina preacher who has spent nearly seven decades sharing the Gospel recently revealed the simple secret he believes is crucial to any preacher’s success.

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“Just love your people,” Pastor Ralph Sproles told WGHP-TV. “If you don’t love people, you’re not going to be effective in the ministry.”

Sproles, who is in his late 80s and still preaching at revivals and delivering occasional sermons, said this essential lesson is one every pastor must heed. Showing love for a congregation — and for people more generally — is at the very heart of any successful ministry, he said.

“I’m a hugging preacher,” he added. “I hug people.”

Sproles also spoke about the importance of intentionally vocalizing his care and feelings for others, noting doing so is an expression of true faith and devotion.

“I tell people I love them,” he said. “When I see them at church, I say, ‘I want you to know I love you,’ because they don’t hear enough of that. That’s what the Christian life is about.”

Watch the pastor explain:

Sproles has certainly put these ideals into action over his decades-long career, as he’s not only shared thousands of weekly sermons but has also presided over 206 weddings and 742 funerals.

The “hugging preacher,” who started sermonizing as a college student in 1954, made his comments during a profile piece for WGHP-TV about 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 changed,” Sproles said.

Watch him preaching and sharing details of his ministry and life here.

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