Toward the end of the first volume of his autobiography, Charles Spurgeon relays a somewhat amusing yet instructive anecdote of a time when he would regularly receive comments on his sermons from an anonymous critic. Continue reading “Using Criticism for Our Benefit: A Word from Charles Spurgeon”
The second book I came upon was C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller. I read this book about 3 months after I read MacArthur’s The Book on Leadership. I came to love Spurgeon while listening to a great pastoral biography on his life by Dr. John Piper. He was a man who truly demonstrated Christ-exalting perseverance in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds and obstacles. This is the kind of man I need to learn from.
Miller caught my attention with the opening sentence of the book. He says, “The best spiritual leaders are always learning.” I love this sentence. I had a pastor about 4 years ago, in my hometown of Billings, Montana, who was 84, and who, during his tri-weekly (3 times a week) kidney dialysis, would engage in two practices: evangelizing the nurses or devouring books. He was always learning. I want to be like that! I want to always be learning.
But Miller narrows our ambition a bit. He follows his opening sentence with a series of questions that the best spiritual leaders ask themselves. He posits that the best spiritual leaders are the ones who ask, “How can I do this better? How can I have a greater impact? How can I inspire the people around me upward and onward in their Christian growth? How can I glorify God more?” Do you ask yourself those questions regularly? You should. And so should I.
From here, Miller endeavors to lay before the reader jewels of wisdom from the life of Spurgeon that will help to answer the above questions. Miller takes the reader through the life and thought of Spurgeon by simply letting Spurgeon speak for himself. The strength of this little book (only 5″ tall and 200 pages), in my estimation, is that Miller provides lengthy sections from Spurgeon’s own pen and mouth. In fact, the majority of the book is quotes from Spurgeon, while Miller simply comments from one section to another in order to maintain continuity and provide background.
In each chapter, Miller focuses on one of nine total essential characteristics of true spiritual leadership that were exemplified in the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon. They are:
Chapter 1: A passion for prayer
Chapter 2: A faith that endures
Chapter 3: A commitment to holiness
Chapter 4: A heart for service
Chapter 5: A love for the Lord and His Word
Chapter 6: A willingness to suffer
Chapter 7: A zeal for proclaiming God’s Word
Chapter 8: A passion for lost souls
Conclusion: The power of a single focus
Each chapter, as I have mentioned, is brimming with quotes from Spurgeon while the chapters are closed by a section entitled, ‘Spurgeon on his knees’ or ‘Spurgeon with his pen.’ Miller has mined the riches of Spurgeon’s life and ministry to give us some soul-nourishing essentials! This is a great book especially for leaders, but also for those who desire an introduction into Charles Spurgeon.