I want my ministry students at RTS Jackson to become skilled in pastoral visitation, which includes visiting people in their homes.
In the late 19th century, Bishop J.C. Ryle was troubled by “a growing disposition throughout the land, among the clergy, to devote an exaggerated amount of attention to what I must call the public work of ministry, and to give comparatively too little attention to pastoral visitation and personal dealing with individual souls.”
In his excellent biography of Ryle, Iain Murray comments:
“However eloquent or apparently knowledgeable a preacher may be, there will be something seriously lacking in the man who is not to be found in the homes of his people. Sermons which come only from the study are not likely to be messages which bind speaker and hearers together in a common bond of affection and sympathy. A preacher must be a visitor and be ready to preach everywhere. Few circumstances can justify the omission. If the excuse be offered that there is too much public work to do, to give time to the private, then the priorities are wrong.”
Facebook, blogs, and other public forums, because of the number of people supposedly reached, may tempt a minister to abandon more traditional, boots-on-the-ground ministry. This is wrong. Social media may assist a minister in his work, but it is no substitute for the work of gathering with people in their homes to pray, instruct, counsel, evangelize, and encourage.
Source: Iain H. Murray, J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2016), 141.
“Personal application has been called the ‘soul’ of preaching. A sermon without application is like a letter posted without a direction: it may be well written, rightly dated, and duly signed; but it is useless, because it never reaches its destination.”
– J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew. 1856 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2012), 126.
First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City turns 175 years old today.
The church has its beginnings in the protracted meetings that once played a vital role in the religious and social life of Southern Protestants. Believers from various denominations, some traveling many miles on shabby, bone-jarring roads, gathered to pitch camp and enjoy several days of fellowship, fine cooking, and the preaching of God’s word.
In late summer 1841 the kind Methodists of Benton, Mississippi hosted one such meeting. Gathering with them was a handful of Presbyterians from Yazoo City, who organized Yazoo Church on August 15, 1841. The church’s name was changed in 1843 to First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City.
The Rev. Richmond McInnis was called as the church’s founding pastor and would stay until 1851.
Among the six charter members was Mrs. Sophia T. Whitman. Her descendant, ninety-seven-year-old Sam B. Olden, is active in the worship life of the church today.
“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
Happy Birthday First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City!
Source: A Brief History of The First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City, Mississippi (1841-1991).
Congratulations Brian Gault! For 21 years Brian has faithfully served Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson. On Tuesday he was licensed to preach by Mississippi Valley Presbytery.
Bebo Elkin administered the licensure vows at Northpointe Presbyterian Church in Meridian.