Biographical Blessings: Brown’s First Church
|Brown’s Call to Ministry|
Spurgeon trained and prepared Brown for ministry and eventually recommended him for a pastorate in a church east of the Metropolitan Tabernacle called Stepney Green Tabernacle. When they asked Spurgeon if he knew anyone who might be a good fit, Spurgeon replied that he knew someone he’d “walk four miles to hear”. What an endorsement from the Prince of Preachers himself!
One area that I’d like to grow is in offering godly encouragement. Let me encourage you to join me and to share ways you see God using or gifting brothers and sisters in the church. Take time this week to think of one member to encourage with a specific way you see God’s grace in their life.
Brown’s Hope for Ministry
As gifted as Brown may have been, his hope was not in his ability to preach, nor even in the means of preaching itself. He said, “It is not the means used, but the Lord’s blessing of them. The teacher may teach Jesus and only him, and that with tears: but unless the DIvine Master place his hands upon the blind, no miracle of grace will be effected.“
Have you noticed that virtually every week in the pastoral prayer whoever is praying in some way or other asks God to bless the preaching of his Word? That’s not formulaic or simply our tradition, it’s because we believe that unless the Spirit anoints the preacher and his Words, applying it to the hearts of the hearers, our labours of preaching are in vain! The Divine Master must act. Would you join us in praying for the regular preaching of God’s word in our church to be faithful andfruitful at Covenant Hope Church. Pray the same also for the women’s retreat this weekend and for Keri Folmar as she brings God’s Word from Habakkuk.
In fact that hope was demonstrated by their devotion to pray. The church gathered twice a week for prayer. “A characteristic of revival is that hunger for the presence of God Is seen as much in attention to prayer as in hearing the Word of God.” Brown pleaded, “Let not your prayerfulness decline. May this spirit of prayer–this pioneer of revival, be ours now and ever as a church.
“By God’s grace the church grew in prayerfulness under his leadership and encouragement and the prayer meetings filled up with 100s gathering to pray no matter what. “Rain, hail or snow made no difference. They were all in dead earnest.”
May I encourage you to make it a priority to join us for our prayer meetings, we have them twice a month, but imagine if the demand and desire grew to have them twice a week! I know it can be challenging with little ones (I promise your kid is probably not half as noisy as Charlotte!) and costly in time (but we promise to start and conclude promptly), but imagine what God might do!
Under Brown’s leadership and the church’s prayerfulness, Stepney Green Tabernacle underwent an awakening, many conversions, saints maturing, leaders arising. Through simply faithful preaching and prayer God blessed the church amazingly. Listen to how Brown describes it:
“God has been pleased to give us as a church such prosperity as is given to few, he has permitted us to reap with one hand while we have sown with the other. The converts are not numbered by tens only but by hundreds. In no spirit of pride do we say this; for what have we that we have not received? It is his work and his only, and at his feet we delight to cast all the glory.“
May we give ourselves to the Word and prayer, may he be pleased to bear fruit in our midst, and may he receive all the glory he’s due!
Grace and peace,