Friday, October 02, 2009

Erskine on Knowing Your Flock

Just this week I came across this quote from John Erskine. He is discussing various challenges of pastoral ministry and urges his readers to know their flocks. This is just one more piece of the long chain through the history of the church of understanding pastoral ministry as involving personal knowledge of one’s people.

“Sermons, like arrows shot at a venture, seldom hit the mark when we do not know the character of our hearers; and, in many instances, our knowledge of their character must be imperfect if we contract no familiarity with them. Yet this, however desirable, is next to impossible in a numerous charge, or in a charge almost continually shifting its inhabitants.” (191-192)
- John Erskine, “Difficulties of the Pastoral Office,” in John Brown, compiler, The Christian Pastor's Manual(1826. Reprint. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 2003)

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