Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Spurgeon on How Pastors Can Better Connect with the Men in Their Church

Guest post by Eric McKiddie

Spurgeon points out why pastors are so often unaccepted socially by the men in their congregation:
"I am persuaded that one reason why our workingmen so universally keep clear of ministers is because they abhor their artificial and unmanly ways. If they saw us, in the pulpit and out of it, acting like real men, and speaking naturally, like honest men, they would come around us."
Then Spurgeon gives 7 ways to improve for pastors to improve their conversation with the men of their church:
1. A minister, wherever he is, is a minister, and should recollect that he is on duty: "Be ready to do good even in your resting times and in your leisure hours; and so be really a minister, and there will be no need for you to proclaim that you are so.

2. The Christian minister out of the pulpit should be a sociable man: "He is not to be a hermit, or a a man among men...Some ministers need to be told they are of the same species as their hearers."

3. The Christian minister should also be very cheerful: "I commend cheerfulness to all who would win souls; not levity and frothiness, but a genial happy spirit."

4. Take care not to engross all the conversation: "[Preachers] are quite qualified to do so, no doubt; I mean from their capacity to instruct, and readiness of utterance; but they must remember that people do not care to be perpetually instructed; they like to take a turn in the conversation themselves." But also, "do not be a dummy. People will for their estimate of  you and your ministry by what they see of you in private as well as by your public deliverances."

5. Try to turn the conversation to profitable use: "Be sociable and cheerful and all that, but labour to accomplish something...If your heart is in it and your wits are awake, this will be easy enough, especially if you breathe a prayer for guidance."

6. Do not frequent rich men's tables to gain their countenance, and never make yourself a sort of general hanger-on at tea-parties and entertainments: "Who are you that you should be dancing attendance upon this wealthy man and the other, when the Lord's poor, his sick people, and his wandering sheep require you? To sacrifice the study for the parlour is criminal."

7. The minister should be firm for his principles, and bold to avow and defend them in all companies: "Strong in his principles, earnest in his tone, and affectionate in heart, let him speak out like a man and thank God for the privilege."
Lectures to My Students (p. 166-174)

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