Spurgeon Sabbatical Redux

16 Jun

I’ve been blessed not only to attend but also to lead times of gathered worship in song, prayer, and Scripture for Gordon-Conwell’s Spurgeon Sabbatical this June 19-29. Last summer I attended as a student, was mentored by 15 or so awesome pastors and instructed by the pastorally-sensitive and theologically-rich teaching of Dr. Scott Hafemann. Last year we studied the letter of 1 Peter and the book On Being a Theologian of the Cross. This year we will be studying 2 Peter “Real Faith and the Reality of Judgment” and Eugene Peterson’s book Christ Plays in 10,000 Places.

Please pray for me that I would be used by God to lead times of gathered worship that truly encourage these men to exult in King Jesus and that prepare our hearts and minds for all that God has in store for them during this study sabbatical.

(If I were one of those cool bloggers out there, I might consider doing ‘live blogging.’ But since I’m not, we don’t have to worry about that!)


Posted by on June 16, 2006 in Uncategorized


9 responses to “Spurgeon Sabbatical Redux

  1. corey thomas

    June 16, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    out of curiosity, what will your gathered worship times be like? a little music, a little prayer, a little scripture reading?

  2. dwight

    June 18, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    Hey dude. I`m pumped that you get to go do that thing. It`s exciting. I picked up Spurgeon`s `lectures to my students`last week, so I`ll be reading what the good man who enjoyed many cigars had to say to his students as your leading men chasing after Jesus in gathered worship. What a cool catalyst we get to play through the authority of Jesus – may He speak powerfully through the songs & meditations during the week. Keep chasing after Him bro, and don`t get lost in busyness. Love & Grace,,,

  3. Josh

    June 21, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks Dwight. Can’t wait to catch up with you and preach on the streets of Montreal.

    Corey, thanks for asking about the order of service. We sing a lot! Our times are about 30 min long, 2x a day, book-ending each day of study. The first is right after breakfast and just before a 3 hour study/exegesis of 2 Peter. The second time is right after a 1 hour pastoral discussion of Christ Plays in 10,000 Places by Peterson.

    There’s not a huge difference in these times. We usually sing 4-5 songs. We always spend a season in prayer; I usually try to build a theme within the song choice that presents an opportunity to respond to God in prayer. If the time goes longer, I sometimes cut a song out. I also incorporate several Scripture readings that undergird the hymns and songs. Sometimes I read them, sometimes I ask some of the men to read. In the handbook that I prepared for the Sabbatical I also have sections for SCripture readings, call to worship, confessions, prayers and great quotes.

    So far things are going great!

  4. corey thomas

    June 22, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    thanks for taking the time to share. your insights have been very helpful along the way.

    here’s a quandry: my pastor wants me to limit any scripture that i might use to 1-2 verses. he says that reading more than that at once can be too long and inneffective. what say ye to that?

  5. jason

    June 23, 2006 at 3:23 pm


    That is a pretty common way for the scriptures to be presented in a liturgy and it has its advantages in that you can pick out the most memoral verses. A downside is that it strips the context and story from what we are hearing. I guess a way around it would to be have several small readings during the singing on the same passage continuing the story during the service. For insight on how to use small verse chunks you might want to look at the Book of Common Prayer or the Celtic daily prayer link on my blog, the morning prayer has some Scripture meditation.

    Have you thought to ask your pastor what he hopes to accomplish in the Scripture readings it might shed light on why he likes shorter. Remember to take the church along slowly and faithfully testing things out incrimentally and occasionally and powerfully when you do them and trust God to be at work through his Spirit in all of their hearts.

  6. Josh

    June 30, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    Right on Jason. Sources like the Book of Common Prayer and the more updated Worship Sourcebook are probably key for learning how to effectively introduce more Scripture into our gatherings.

    Corey, Jason is right on again when he asks if you have asked your pastor what HE hopes the Scripture readings to accomplish. I’d even go further to ask what sort of role and function Scripture plays in the service. Ask for specifics. How’s your wife and baby?

  7. corey thomas

    July 3, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    wife and son are doing great! Valeri is 6 1/2 months pregnant with our next son Andrew James.

    concerning scripture reading in our services I have never really asked the direct question of “what do we hope to accomplish with the scripture readings?” I know what i want to accomplish when i use it during the musical section of worship and the pastor uses lot’s of scripture to back up his sermon, but we have yet to really integrate a set apart time to just read the scriptures. i will get to the bottom of it and share with you all what comes of it

  8. Barefoot Guy

    July 8, 2006 at 5:02 am

    I love Charles Spurgeon,
    He is so cut and dry, and so full of real passion! His book Lectures to my students is a great book that I have enjoyed. Good practical advice. I love that he was virtually a Holy-Spirit taught man. I heard that he never went to cemetary. Ooops I mean Seminary!

    I am a musician and I would be honored if you would check out my music. All my music is free for download. Anyway, I don’t mean to be a pest, just thought I’d share.

    “All my muisc is free.”

  9. Josh

    July 11, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    Great music!! Love the fact that you make it available for free. I’ve been listening to your acoustic hymns today. Signed up for you Newsletter too. The production is very clear and balanced. I look forward to listening more. Thanks for dropping by!


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