Blog Entry

How Spurgeon Scheduled His Week

By Christian George Jun 27, 2017

In fifty-seven years, Charles Spurgeon accomplished three lifetimes of work. Every week he preached four to ten times, read six meaty books, revised sermons for publication, lectured, edited a monthly magazine. In his spare time, he wrote about 150 books.

Spurgeon shepherded the largest Protestant megachurch in the world (he knew all 6,000 members by name), directed a theological college, ran an orphanage, and oversaw sixty-six Christian charities.   

"I wish it could be said of us that we wasted neither an hour of our time, nor an hour of other people’s time."

Spurgeon was also a father and husband. He never sacrificed his family on the altar of ministry.

So how did the Prince of Preachers schedule his week? Here’s what Spurgeon’s daily organizer looked like (taken from his Autobiography):

Monday

Wake early, revise stenographer’s transcription of yesterday’s sermon
Write/dictate letters and personal correspondence
After lunch, complete revision of the first draft of sermon, then send to printer
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, lead the prayer service at the Tabernacle
Conduct interviews for membership at the Tabernacle
Preach an optional late-night service

Tuesday

Wake early, revise second draft of sermon
11:00 am, complete revision of second draft, then send sermon to the printer
Write/dictate letters and personal correspondence
Lunch, research/write books, magazine articles, and other literary work
Afternoon, pastoral care/counseling at the Tabernacle
Evening, preside over Tabernacle societies and charities

Wednesday

Celebrate a much-needed mid-week Sabbath
Spend time with Susannah, Charles, and Thomas
Contemplate in garden or read in study
Relax   

Thursday  

Wake early, write/dictate letters and personal correspondence
Begin thinking about selecting a Scripture text for the evening sermon
Afternoon, write/edit books and other literary projects  
Complete the final revision of the sermon, then send to printer for publication/distribution
After dinner, begin sermon preparation for the evening service
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, preach the evening service in the Lecture Hall of the Tabernacle

Friday

Wake early, prepare lecture on preaching for the students of the Pastors’ College
3:00 pm – 5:00pm, lecture for two hours at the College on Temple Street
Interview/mentor students afterwards
7:00 pm, attend business meeting at the Tabernacle

Saturday

Breakfast, then work with secretary on revising/editing books for publication
Resolve with secretary any outstanding projects for the week
Afternoon, entertain guests in garden if weather is favorable
6:00 pm, dismiss guests after dinner

“Now, dear friends, I must bid you good-bye and turn you out of this study; you know what a number of chickens I have to scratch for, and I want to give them a good meal tomorrow.”

10:00pm-12:00am, Prepare tomorrow’s sermon:

          Select Scripture text
          Ask wife to read the Scripture text aloud
          Mentally divide sermon into natural breaking points as she reads
          Scribble divisions onto a half sheet of paper in purple ink

Sunday

Wake early, ride carriage to the Tabernacle (15-20 minute journey)
Smoke one cigar “to the glory of God”
Arrive 30 minutes before the service
    
Worship service begins
          Call to worship/announcements
          Congregational singing from Our Own Hymn-Book (voices only, no organ)
          Read Scripture text while offering extemporaneous expositions on its context
          Begin preaching sermon (43-45 minutes, no longer)
          Drink chili-vinegar if throat becomes irritated
          Conclude service (no altar call, but “enquiry rooms” available)

Afternoon, greet visitors in the Pastor’s Vestry
Late afternoon, travel home to “Westwood” on Beulah Hill in Norwood
Begin sermon prep for the evening evangelistic service
Preach sermon at the Tabernacle
Travel home and retire for the week

A Final Word

David Livingstone, the missionary to Africa, once asked Spurgeon, “How can you accomplish so much in one day?”

“You forget, Mr. Livingstone,” Spurgeon replied, “there are two of us working.”