A Glimpse into Charles Spurgeon’s Week

One of the most famous preacher, that we might have heard of, is Charles Spurgeon. For 4 to 10 times weekly, he would preach, read 6 good books, revised sermons, lectured and edited magazine. Then read this: on top of these activities, he wrote about 150 books. Not to mention also this: he 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. Spurgeon was also a father and husband. He never sacrificed his family on the altar of ministry.

My first response to this was a resounding – “How on earth did he actually manage to do this in that 57 years of his life?”. He had a ministry of 40+ years as a pastor/preacher, with 38 years at the New Park Street Chapel, London. 

A secret into this, I believe, would be this quote:

“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.”

From the blog of the Charles Spurgeon Center, here’s what Spurgeon’s daily organizer looked like (as taken from his Autobiography):


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Wow, so this is really tight schedule that he runs on a weekly basis. Interesting, when 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.” Amazing reply, with such consciousness of God’s role in ministry.

(Source acknowledgement: this was an adapted post from the blog at http://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/blog-entries/how-spurgeon-scheduled-his-week)