Learning From Murray McCheyne

March 14, 2009

One of the men who inspired me about Christian ministry was a Scot who lived in the 19th century, and didn’t live beyond his 29th birthday. Robert Murray McCheyne continues to be an example of God’s work in a young life, and a short ministry (Andrew Bonar’s Memoirs and Remains is a must read).


So I was interested then to see yesterday that Blog of Dan was discussing lessons from McCheyne’s ministry:

Quiet Time: In the mornings, after reading the Scriptures, he prayed in response to them, and engaged in intercession for his flock and friends.

Biographies: McCheyne read biographies to discover and apply the principles of their godly lives to his own life.

Study: “All the subjects he studied fed his mind and broadened his horizons. Later they provided a rich source of illustrations in his preaching.”

Sermon Notes: He took copious notes of sermons and then wrote them up on a Sunday evening.

Key for McCheyne’s ministry: Excellent theological teaching, stimulating spiritual fellowship with one’s peers, preachers who provide good role models, and hands-on experience of Christian service.

Sermon Preparation:
Thorough exegesis, looking up the meaning of each word. Then followed a paraphrase of the verse or passage in his own words. Pages of notes and observations followed as he pondered the material. If sermons by others on the passage were available he would read them. Then he would draw out 3 or 4 main points before writing a full and complete outline. McCheyne aimed at simple and logical statements.

Sermon Delivery:
He tailored the length of his sermons to the congregation he was preaching to.

Public Prayers: By his public prayers he unconsciously taught his people how to pray.

Visiting: McCheyne aimed at visiting between 12 to 15 families in the parish each day he went out on his calls (at one time up to 20). At visits he gave an invitation to gather in the evening for a meeting. In addition to this he also visited the dying, injured and ill. He kept note books recording his visits.

Letter Writing: Wrote letters for spiritual and pastoral purposes.

Thank you Dan for re-stimulating my interest in McCheyne. I’m going to look for Bonar’s biography now…


One comment

  1. 10 to 15 families A DAY!?

    How on earth did he find time to blog?


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