Frank Couch has spent his entire adult life either teaching the Bible in ministry settings or publishing Bibles and Bible study materials. He graduated from the University of South Florida and Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving with a ministry in Berkeley, California and Christ Community Church in Tampa, Florida, Frank was Senior Vice President of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Bible Division, before going to Emmaus Bible College as Executive Vice President. Later, he directed the publishing programs of Serendipity House Publishers and World Publishers before returning to Thomas Nelson Publishers to complete his career as Vice President for Study Resources.
Frank has written a story Bible with 134 children’s Bible stories for Ideals Publishers, developed several reference systems of the Bible, created a concise Bible concordance, written or edited over sixty small-group study guides, and edited nine study Bibles. His last publishing assignment was as the Executive Editor for The Voice, a dynamic translation of the Bible into English. Throughout his career Frank preached in his church and spoke to groups of pastors and college students about Bible translations, different study systems. He also led one-day seminars for churches in relational small groups. Frank now devotes his time to helping others and doing projects around the house. He also serves from time-to-time as a Teaching Minister for New Heights Chapel in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Recently PastorResources.com had the privilege of grabbing a few moments with him for a Q&A.
What is your job title outside of church? (if applicable)
Recently retired from a career in Bible and Biblical Reference publishing
What is your title in the church?
I serve as a volunteer Teaching Minister for my church.
How far in advance to you prepare for services?
I spend a lot more time on my sermons than most; often working several weeks in advance for a sermon, . sometimes more than 20 hours. Because I don’t do it do it full time I can devote more time to it.
What do you do if you feel stuck, creatively?
The creativity is not normally a problem for me. But I find that memorizing the passage I am preaching on forces me to put myself into the story of the scripture. Fortunately, I don’t speak every week, so I have much more time to devote to sermon preparation than most preachers. I also am finding memorizing harder to do as I age. So, I don’t memorize the passage nearly as often as I did when I was younger. I also find reflecting on God’s grace to me in my life helps me to understand his message from the text.
What is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on the pulpit and how did you recover?
One time I was preaching, and someone in the audience corrected an illustration I was making. This person had misunderstood what I was saying, and was actually incorrect. So, I had to try to work around the interruption without causing embarrassment for this person. I had to talk in a bit of a circle to get the message back on track and continue with my illustration. I struggled to get back to the point of the message.
What is one ritual that keeps you sane in busy times?
When I’m really pressed and having a hard time spiritually scripture memory is the best thing. Sitting down and memorizing a chapter at a time. I found the larger passages easier to memorize because then you get the full context of the story and you are able to better understand the message of the passage that God intended for us.
If you could give one piece of advice to those graduating from seminary, what would it be?
Context is everything. Always make sure that when you are delivering a message or thought to someone be sure that you are staying within the context of the story. Be sure to study large enough portions of scripture so that you can capture the full emphasis. It is easy to twist scripture to match our bias.