April 3, 2009 by C.J. Mahaney
Meet Mickey Connolly.
Mickey is 59 years old and serves as the senior pastor of Crossway Community Church (Charlotte, NC). In October he will celebrate 25 years in pastoral ministry, and in August he will celebrate 13 years at Crossway.
He and his wife, Jane, have three children.
When asked about his theological training, Mickey says, “I once drove by a seminary.” Which sounds a lot like the Mickey I know and the man I want you to meet.
Mickey, thanks for your time. Please describe your morning devotions. What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.? What are you presently reading?
I usually get up at 6 am and pray until 7:00 or 7:15. This varies some on Sundays (get up at 6:00 but pray less, mainly for meeting) and Mondays (get up later a pray a bit shorter). I consider this the most important and useful thing I do all day.
After that I read my Bible. Usually 2 or 3 chapters and note the one thing that most stood out to me that day.
For my morning reading I just finished Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray (it sat on my shelf for years and I wish I would have pulled it off earlier) and am starting Paul Tripp’s A Quest for More.
What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?
For my soul: A Quest for More.
For pastoral ministry: I am devoting this year to read biographies of great missionaries and evangelists because I want to be freshly stirred for evangelism and mission and I want to stir the church for the same thing. I just finished Courtney Anderson’s biography of Adoniram Judson (To the Golden Shore) and am starting Arnold Dallimore’s shorter biography of George Whitefield.
For personal enjoyment I’m reading Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of Their Times, about baseball in the early 20th century.
Apart from Scripture, what book do you most frequently re-read and why?
I haven’t been in the habit of rereading books till you started talking about it. So…last year on my personal retreat I reread Carson’s The Cross and Christian Ministry because I think it’s the most important book on pastoral ministry. This year I am going to reread Knowing God by J.I. Packer because I love to read of the greatness of God and that book always elevates my vision of Him.
When you finish a book, what system have you developed in order to remember and reference that book in the future?
When I read I check and star things of importance and put quote marks around passages that I think I may want to quote later. I’m not very smart but for some reason God has gifted me with the ability to remember where I read things, so if I want to reference something later I go back and look at my markings.
If you could study under any theologian in church history (excluding those men in Scripture), who would it be and why?
R.C. Sproul. I think he has a unique ability to make the complex understandable, and his passion for God and for Scripture bleeds through everything he communicates. His books Chosen by God and The Holiness of God have in particular had a profound effect on me at critical points in my ministry.
What single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?
Be more simple. I think I used to try to say way too much and the main point of the passage often got lost in the details.
What books on preaching, or examples of it, have you found most influential in your own preaching?
Historically, John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching has had the greatest effect. Recently Steve Lawson wrote a little book called The Expository Genius of John Calvin which I really liked as well.
You probably won’t like this on your blog (but hey, it’s my interview)—your example of preaching has had the greatest effect. I have benefitted greatly by watching the ways you have grown over the years (e.g. in use of humor, simplicity, cross-centeredness). The example has not just been in the particulars but in the passion to always be growing. So thanks!!
Join us next time for the second half of my interview with Mickey Connolly.