The Preaching “Boy Wonder” | Spurgeon Biography
Young Spurgeon
Young Spurgeon

Spurgeon began preaching in rural Cambridgeshire when he was barely in his teens. His first pastorale was in the village of Waterbeach, a few miles from the university. Spurgeon was not average; even as a teenaged pastor in a country town he had star quality. Before he was “the preaching sensation of London,” he was “the boy wonder of the fens.” He was small in stature, and in his youth pale and slim, appearing even younger than he was. His boyish appearance was in startling contrast to the maturity of his sermons, which naturally were strongly influenced by the Puritan works he had studied since childhood. He had a retentive memory and always spoke extemporaneously from an outline. His youth, energy, and oratorical skills, combined with his command of old-fashioned texts, made a vivid impact upon his congregations. People trekked from miles away to hear the preaching prodigy of Waterbeach. Within eighteen months his reputation had spread to London, and he was invited to preach at the historic New Park Street Chapel. The congregation at New Park Street was impressed by the visitor and voted—with only five “nays”—to invite him preach for an additional six months. The 19-year-old country-bred boy preacher moved to the city.In the early years of Spurgeon’s career, he preached in London and throughout the kingdom. No chapel seemed large enough to hold the people who wanted to hear him, and he moved into London’s great secular halls—Exeter Hall, Surrey Gardens Music Hall, the Agricultural Hall—where he preached to thousands. In 1861, his congregation moved to the new Metropolitan Tabernacle, and Spurgeon left London less frequently.