Quotes from JC Ryle
There is a jelly-fish Christianity in the land; that is a Christianity without bone or muscle or power…of which the leading principle is “no dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine”. We have hundreds of jelly-fish clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity…We have thousands of jelly-fish sermons preached every year – sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner and edifying no saint…and last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jelly-fish worshippers – respectable, church-going people who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology…they think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, everything is true and nothing is false, all sermons are good and none are bad, every clergyman is sound and none is unsound.
Affection for the Flock
…. Speaking with doctrinal clarity in a lively sermon was pointless without personal love and affection for the flock. There were far too many services and other activities so that a pastor no longer visited people in their homes. Preachers who did not visit people in their homes would not be effective because they would not know people’s situations. Their preaching would lack sympathy. The preacher needed to exercise ‘a brotherly interest in their sorrows and joys, their crosses and their cares, their difficulties and their troubles’. A preacher who did not spend time by the fireside hearth would not be listened to in the pulpit. And there was no point in visiting in a perfunctory way, with a cold formality. The pastor needed to demonstrate himself as a friendly, kind and sympathetic brother
…It is not orders, or endowments, or liturgies, or learning that will keep a church alive…let us never forget the brightest days of the church are those when Christ crucified is most exalted…. Preach salvation by the sacraments, exalt the church above Christ and keep back the doctrine of the atonement and the devil cares little – his goods are at peace. But preach a full Christ and a free pardon and then Satan will have great wrath for he knows he has but a short time.
Spend half the week preparing sermons. Spend half of the other half visiting (therefore cut lots of other things out).