Pastors Edge is a ministry of Touching Lives. We are pleased to present the sermons of Dr. James Merritt, one of America’s great expository preachers. For more than 40 years, Dr. Merritt has preached God’s Word through the local church he pastors, as well as through Touching Lives weekly television broadcasts. Dr. Merritt’s messages are available here via digital download, along with outlines, note pages, PowerPoint slides and other resources, for a modest cost.
Proceeds from sales of Pastors Edge resources supports this website, as well as pastoral helps and continued development of resources for pastors through the larger Touching Lives ministry.
We initiated Pastors Edge in 2006 to provide a resource for preaching preparation to pastors. Pastors Edge is a part of the non-profit entity Touching Lives, and proceeds from resources sold online are used to cover website costs and develop new material and graphics. Pastors Edge is one of several similar resources online that provide sermons to pastors. Why is this necessary, and is it right for a pastor to preach another pastor’s sermons, word for word?
Our ministry leader, Dr. James Merritt is pastor of a larger church on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. His church is among the very few in North America that have more than 500 attendees. In fact, of the 280,000 protestant churches in North America, just 1,800 of them have more than 500 attendees. That means 99.9% of churches are smaller churches. And of those smaller churches, 250,000 of them have bi-vocational pastors.
A bi-vocational pastor has two jobs—the pastorate of his church, and the job that pays the bills. In larger church circles, we often prepare conferences and teaching and plan as if all churches had full-time employees and staffs and resources. And it’s tragic, because we ignore the vast majority of church leaders who work a regular job during the week, and somehow manage to preach and pastor on top of that. The demands and stress on the lives of these individuals is enormous, yet they form the bedrock of the vast majority of our churches. It’s for these men that Pastors Edge is designed and dedicated.
Dr. Merritt is blessed with time to study—many hours per week—and with a team of creative and support personnel and volunteers who work with him each week to prepare for weekend messages. He has time to plan his series, do research, theme his teaching, read news articles from which he gathers illustrations, and keep detailed files on his preaching. The average bi-vocational pastor simply doesn’t have the time or resources to prepare to teach in this manner.
Pastors Edge messages make a great starting point for a pastor’s teaching preparation. The sermon is organized, along with graphics and support material, to be used immediately. It has hours of work by creative and studied individuals behind it. Dr. Merritt’s 35 years of experience as a pastor also come into play, as the message adheres to sound biblical doctrine.
Though it’s possible to preach one of Dr. Merritt’s sermons word-for-word, given that his entire transcript is provided in that format, very few pastors who interact with Pastors Edge do so. The primary benefit of studying or adapting the preaching of another pastor is to use his key ideas and outline for developing your own message. A Pastors Edge sermon, then, is really a jump-start on sermon preparation, giving the pastor a great foundation on which to build his weekend message.
The key area of adjustment for an online sermon will be in the illustrations and examples. Often Dr. Merritt shares personal life stories in his sermons. You may have a similar experience, and often your story in that same space will be a much more powerful and poignant example than the one provided by Pastors Edge. What is provided for you, though, is the key idea, creative input and skeleton on which to make a sermon your own.