July 27, 2017

C.H. Spurgeon: On Spiritual Leadership

C.H Spurgeon (1834-1892) was one of the most remarkable spiritual leaders of the past 150 years. Everyone who knew Spurgeon recognized his pure and passionate heart. He threw himself fully into the Lord’s work, and his ministry flourished as a result. Spurgeon preferred simple and direct preaching aimed towards winning souls for Christ, which was in stark contrast to the grandiose, flowery, inaccessible language used by preachers in his day.┬áHe lived his life by this credo: “Not I, but Christ.”

In his book “C.H. Spurgeon: On Spiritual Leadership”, author Steve Miller organizes Spurgeon’s teachings on spiritual leadership into 8 categories. The book is short, clocking in at a mere 186 pages, so it reads more like a devotional on spiritual leadership rather than a systematic treatment. You will not find too many scriptural cross references, rather, the book focuses on Spurgeon’s own words. Miller also sprinkles in some anecdotes from the life of Spurgeon that help bring his points to life. The 8 categories are:

  1. A Passion for Prayer
  2. A Faith that Endures
  3. A Commitment to Holiness
  4. A Heart for Service
  5. A Love for the Lord and his Word
  6. A Willingness to Suffer
  7. A Zeal for Proclaiming God’s Word
  8. A Passion for Lost Souls

The book being more of a devotional is helpful in returning to some of the basic truths we can easily forget as leaders. Spurgeon saw these truths not merely as good advice but as lifelines for the spiritual leader. A leader who does not pray consistently, study the Word deeply, or care intimately for his people is doomed to fail in any kind of spiritual work. A spiritual leader must also be fully devoted to the work, not putting in minimal effort. That reveals a duplicitous heart torn between two loves. The spiritual leader must see Christ as the ultimate authority who is worth giving our full lives to. As Spurgeon says:

“I pray God, if I have a drop of blood in my body which is not His, to let it bleed away; and if there be one hair in my head which is not consecrated to Him, I would have it plucked out.”

The book is quick and convicting, and it is a much-needed call for radical Christian leadership, but I feel there is much room for expansion on these topics. Since it is so short, Miller can only treat these deep spiritual topics on the surface-level. The result is that some of the applications are shallow and obvious. There is a great wealth of wisdom and examples from Spurgeon’s life that Miller can tap into to expand his content. The book is fantastic, but it left me wanting more.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a desire to serve in ministry in any capacity. It is not just for the senior leaders of the church, these principles are important for any walking Christian. The book is a refreshing reminder of our call to faithfulness, zeal, and suffering. It is an easy read – you could potentially finish this in an afternoon.

You can find it here on Amazon.

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