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Charles Haddon Spurgeon (b.1834, d. 1892) is one of the most famous preachers in church history. The "Prince of Preachers", as Spurgeon was dubbed, was a soul-winning, Calvinistic, Baptist preacher who preached to thousands of people without a microphone or other forms of amplification. The son and grandson of pastors, Spurgeon was a voracious reader with a photographic memory and pastored one of the first "mega churches." Recently, I finished a book on Spurgeon by Geoff Chang, Assistant Professor of Church History and Historical Theology and the Curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The book was a wealth of information about Spurgeon's ministry and vision for pastoral ministry. It was incredibly interesting! Here are 20 of my favorite quotes from the book:


If we are to understand Spurgeon's view of pastoral ministry, we must begin with the pulpit. Spurgeon believed that God builds His church through His Word. Therefore, preaching is at the heart of pastoral ministry. 


"The Preaching of the Word by the chosen servants of the living God, is the ordained means for the gathering in of the elect."


Though he preached thousands of sermons, Spurgeon never got over the weighty and awesome responsibility of preaching. "When we preach and think nothing of it, the people think nothing of it, and God does nothing by it."


Spurgeon believed that preaching shapes the church. Preaching is how a pastor leads and grows the church spiritually. The character and health of the church depend on the ministry of the Word.


A faithful ministry, of the Word is "the instrumentality by which the Lord especially works" in the church.


…Spurgeon devoted himself, to raising up faithful preachers of God's Word. He could not envision reforming any church apart from the pulpit. Apart from the power of God's Word, any efforts at church reform would fail. But if a dying church would call a faithful preacher to fill the pulpit and preach God's Word faithfully, Spurgeon believed, by God's grage, that any church could be restored and once again see God's blessing upon its ministry.


Spurgeon believed that the power of the pulpit lay not in the preacher, but in the Word of God. Therefore, he believed that preachers should preach expositional sermons. These were sermons that took a text of Scripture as their main theme and sought to explain and apply those texts to the people. 


Spurgeon preached knowing that as much as he had prepared and worked at his preaching, he was still utterly helpless to bring about the conversion of a soul. He looked to God alone for such results.


The aim of preaching is faithfulness. The preacher's task is to preach God's Word accurately and faithfully, and then to leave the results to God. However, a preacher is never content to only preach faithful sermons regardless of the results. Rather, his prayer is that sinners would be converted, and the church be built up. Even more, his prayer is for revival.


But the million-dollar question is: How does it all begin? How does revival come upon the church? The answer is that it all begins with the preacher. Just as snow, melted by the sun, runs down the mountain and waters the valleys, so the preacher, revived by the Spirit, blesses the church. And so, even as he prepares and preaches faithful sermons, his prayer is first and foremost for him-self, that God would do a work in his life, so that the church might be blessed under the preaching of the Word.


"God may bless us when we are not in his house, but we have the best reason to hope that he will when we are in communion with his saints."


“Do not let us become poor in prayer. It is a bad thing to become poor in money, because we need it for a thousand causes, and cannot get on without it. But we can do without money better than we can do without prayer. We must have your prayers.”


Church membership is not optional because the church is not optional. Church membership makes the distinction between the church and the world visible. That distinction will be fully revealed at the Last Day when Christ returns. But in this age, the church exists as a warning to the world and a comfort to God's people that Christ knows those who are His.


Spurgeon encouraged his students to root themselves in the ministry of a local church and prove their giftedness in service to the church. Many churches in that day equated college training to a pastoral calling. As a result, "young men who have never preached are set apart to the ministry; those who have never visited the sick, never instructed the ignorant... are supposed to be dedicate to the Christian ministry." But for his students, Spurgeon challenged them to test their calling by serving in the church with zeal while they were just members. "If he cannot labor in the church before he pretends to be a minister, he is good for nothing."


Spurgeon saw the financial support of teachers of God's Word clearly commanded in Scripture. Therefore, supporting one's pastor was not optional, but "plainly the duty of Christian people." Writing in his magazine, he called church members to take responsibility for their pastors. "How we wish that in every congregation some one good man or godly woman would have a mission, and that mission the poor pastor's decent maintenance." Even just one member caring for his pastor's support could make a big difference and save the pastor from arguing for his own salary. Rather than worrying whether these pastors were being paid too much, Spurgeon called members to trust the character of their pastor. "Their want does not arise from vice or extravagance; their incomes are well known, and their expenses can be accurately gauged, and hence there is no danger that any will receive too much.” If they could not trust their pastor in these matters, then he should not be serving as their pastor.


Spurgeon encouraged pastors to teach their people about the importance of connecting their service to the church. "Christian labours, disconnected from the church, are ike sowing and reaping without having any barn in which to store the fruits of the harvest; they are useful, but incomplete."


"It is a bad thing to become poor in money... but we can do without money better than we can do without prayer.... The very least thing that a church member can do is to plead with God that the blessing may descend."


"One day, with a very sad countenance, he said to me, 'I have been preaching for three months, and I don't know of a single soul having been con-verted.' Meaning to catch him by guile, and at the same time to teach him a lesson he would never forget, I asked, 'Do you expect the Lord to save souls every time you open your mouth?" 'Oh, no, sir!' he replied. 'Then,' I said, 'that is just the reason why you have not had conversions: 'According to your faith be it unto you.'


Spurgeon saw that "the resurrection and salvation of an old church is often a more difficult task than to commence a new one.'


“We, being assured of the gospel, go on to prove its working character. More than ever must we cause the light of the Word to shine forth.... If sinners are converted in great numbers, and the churches are maintained in purity, unity, and zeal, evangelical principles will be supplied with their best argu-ments. A ministry which, year by year, builds up a living church, and arms it with a complete array of evangelistic and benevolent institutions, will do more by way of apology for the gospel than the most learned pens, or the most labored orations.”


To purchase a copy of the book for yourself, go to WTSbooks or Christian Book.