Spurgeon’s Encouragement to Church Planters and Small Churches

sun breaking throughI came across these words from the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon. He first delivered these words 144 years ago but they provide fresh encouragement today.

Thank God, there are many workers here tonight, and maybe they will put themselves down as feeble. May the words I utter be an encouragement to them, and to feeble workers collectively. When a church begins, it is usually small; and the day of small things is a time of considerable anxiety and fear. I may be addressing some who are members of a newly-organised church. Dear brethren, do not despise the day of small things. Rest assured that God does not save by numbers, and that results are not in the spiritual kingdom in proportion to numbers (“Encouragement for the Depressed,” a sermon preached on Sunday evening, August 27, 1871).

“Only a Prayer Meeting”

Charles Spurgeon used preach extemporaneous messages to his congregation when they gathered for prayer.  The messages were intended to exhort his church to pray.  Spurgeon valued the prayer meeting as a vital and indispensable church activity as well as a sign of his church’s spiritual health.  I found the citation below from one of his prayer meeting sermons, “Only a Prayer Meeting”.  It’s a phenomenal quote.  A book by the same title, Only a Prayer Meeting, contains a collection of Spurgeon’s sermons delivered at the Tabernacle’s prayer meetings.  I found a downloadable Word version here.

What a company we have here to-night! It fills my heart with gladness, and my eyes with tears of joy, to see so many hundreds of persons gathered together at what is sometimes wickedly described as “only a prayer-meeting.”  It is good for us to draw nigh unto God in prayer, and specially good to make up a great congregation for such a purpose. We have attended little prayer-meetings of four or five, and we have been glad to be there, for we had the promise of our Lord’s presence; but our minds are grieved to see so little attention given to united prayer by many of our churches. We have longed to see great numbers of God’s people coming up to pray, and we now enjoy this sight. Let us praise God that it is so. How could we expect a blessing if we were too idle to ask for it?  How could we look for a Pentecost if we never met with one accord, in one place, to wait upon the Lord?  Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general till the prayer-meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians (emphasis added).

The 21st century church would do well to continue the practice of the first century church as recorded by Luke in Acts 1:14 (cf. Acts 2:42; 6:4; 13:3; Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17),

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers (emphasis added)