I have preached this and tried to practice this….but I tell people all the time….


Leadership books are too sterile for me.
They don’t capture the emotion of situations and real leadership.  They are written from a laptop but not from the front lines many times.  
I don’t need every point starting with the letter “M”. Sometimes stuff is so messed up in the lives you minister to that I need an “M” and a dozen other letters just to get to catch my breath.  See how a life gets through hard times. How Bonhoeffer dealt with being in NY when he felt he should have been back in Germany suffering with his fellow pastors under Hitlers tyranny is mind boggling.  

I have been reading the giant book by Drummond called “SPURGEON THE PRINCE OF PREACHERS”.  Probably one of the most amazing biographies I have ever read.  I would encourage any pastor to read it.  If you want to get a perspective on a possible building project…read “Spurgeon” not some denominational book on how to get your “dream financed”.  He builds a 5000 seat auditorium debt free in a time when there was no mega church. How?  Ahhhh, that’s why you read bios.  Read how he managed his vacations, his invitations to speak, his study life, what he thought about music and HOW HE TOOK AN OFFERING.  It’s fascinating.  

I’ll give you a little taste from the book:
These are the words of Lewis Drummond on Spurgeon.
“Often 6,000 people would pack into the Metropolitan Tabernacle to hear Spurgeon preach….
Some of those pews were rented (that means that people paid a certain price weekly or monthly to sit in church) The actual church minutes called it “seat subscriptions”  (pg 351)
Those who wanted to be assured of a seat  paid the seat subscription and was always admitted first into the building because it was always a struggle to get in and get a seat. 
Now this is where it gets interesting….

This “seat subscription” became THE PRIMARY SOURCES of income for the ministry of the Metropolitan Tabernacle.  
NO COLLECTIONS were taken during the regular worship service
(Spurgeon never took an offering at the church for the 30 years he was there)
The upkeep of the church and the pastor’s stipend came from that source of revenue.
In 1868, Spurgeon’s stipend was 1250 pounds.  Years later he declined any stipend because his sermons began to sell well.  This basic financial structure kept the entire ministry of the church solvent.  

Spurgeon preached there for 30 years
The building burned to the ground April 20, 1898 during the ministry of Spurgeon’s son Thomas.
The congregation completed a new tabernacle in 1900 but smaller in capacity.
Then during WW 2 the building was damaged again
after the war it was rebuilt seating only 1500.  It was made smaller again
And then recently the sanctuary was made smaller to 600
The Metropolitan Tabernacle had no organ or choir loft.  A so called “Precentor” set the pitch of each hymn with a tuning fork and then led the singing with his own voice.  Spurgeon said, “Services of religion will be conducted without any peculiarity of innovation.  No musical or aesthetic accompaniment will ever be used”.  
“What a degredation to supplement the intelligent song of the whole congregation by the theaterical pettiness of a quartet, the refined niceties of a choir, or the blowing off of wind from inanimate bellows and pipes.  We might as well pray by machinery and praise by it”
The Puritans did not use musical instruments so why should Spurgeon?
Spurgeon did much of his Sunday sermon morning preparation on Saturday evening”

Every page is packed.
It will be the best thousand pages you read this year…or for the next two years….or for a long time.  It’s a long book but well worth it. 


  1. I have only read a few leadership books and a few biographies but I completely agree with you that biographies are better. I find it easier to learn how to lead from an example rather than someone trying to explain it. Right now I am engrossed in Charles G. Finney’s autobiography and am learning more about the power of prayer from his life than I have by reading other books. Thank you for suggesting the Spurgeon biography; it sounds awesome and I look forward to reading it.

  2. I read the Barbour publishing version (Heroes of the Faith)of Spurgeon’s life but I guess I should read the grown-up account. CBD has it for $30.99.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *