A week or two ago, this blog passed 100,000 page views. It’s because of Michael Spencer that I blog at all. I used to read InternetMonk and occasionally make a comment, and I was fine with that until his pod cast started. When I got my first iPod, I downloaded the first 20 episodes of iMonk Radio, and ate those things like candy until I finished them. I had so many thoughts, ideas and responses running around my head that I went to WordPress and started pushing buttons. March will be two years.
Michael has spent nearly his entire career in youth ministry. He has obviously been willing to answer God’s call for his life, but sometimes he hints at wishing he could have done something else. He has served these past 18 years or so in geographic obscurity, ministering his heart out far away from the big cities and their speaking engagements. The Internet has been a lifeline for him, giving him a global audience from the comfort of his modest living room. As the InternetMonk, he has now spoken at a couple of rather large venues, and even obtained something of a celebrity status. His book (Mere Churchianity) will be available later this year. No one could love writing more than Michael Spencer; he writes to write, because he has to, not to sell books, and thus no one deserves this opportunity more.
I became a professional communicator and a halfway decent writer before I met Michael. Because of Michael Spencer, I became a blogger. He taught me how to read my first blog posts and get better. It’s because of Michael Spencer that I read the ESV; he introduced me to it in 2003, and gave me an ESV Study Bible after raising the funds for several on his blog. Every sermon I preach, on any topic or passage of scripture, comes back to the Gospel because of Michael Spencer. I have a passion for the whole Bible being about Jesus, and probably will for the rest of my life. I’ve been a Christian since age 12, and have studied the Bible faithfully for over 20 years; I’m a better preacher because of Michael Spencer.
A few years ago I read Preaching that Changes Lives my Michael Faberez. I’m currently reading Biblical Preaching by Haddon W. Robinson, a book on how to develop and preach expository messages. Michael Spencer gave me this book. Michael doesn’t just blog; he helps make the rest of us better bloggers. Michael doesn’t just teach in the classroom; he helps make the rest of better teachers (say “Amen” Ryan). He doesn’t just preach, he desires to see other preachers get better at what they do. He has a high view of basing sermons on passages of scripture, not picking a handful of verses that go with a sermon one wishes to write. If I “rightfully divide the word of truth,” it’s because I learned it from him.
Continue to pray for Michael and Denise, as well as every member of their family. Pray for those of us at that continue to minister here without him. I preach in his pulpit, I teach Bible from behind his podium, but would give anything to have him back in that spot; I wasn’t done listening to him yet. Will he appreciate all the hero worship? I’m sure he will not. But I hope just this once he understands. I can’t help it; he’s my hero.
UPDATE: I was mistaken about having those first 20 podcasts of iMonk Radio, but do in fact have episodes 48 – 81. Visit the InternetMonk Radio Archive page to listen or download. Special thanks to Cameron Nutter for all his help.