From the Pulpit to the People A Comparative Survey of Jonathan Edwards’ Pastoral Leadership in Northampton and Stockbridge

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Joe M. Easterling


Despite the notoriety of Edwards’ as scholar, preacher, and writer in Northampton, history can argue that Edwards enjoyed his greatest successes as a pastor in Stockbridge, not Northampton. This essay argues that the reason for Edwards’ greater successes in Stockbridge is because Edwards shifted his pastoral leadership from being centered on the pulpit (as it was in Northampton) to being centered among the people. This change from pulpit-centered to people-centered pastoring can be felt in several significant ways, including his approachability, his changing view and treatment of people, and the adaptation of his preaching to meet the cultural and spiritual dynamics of his congregation.  Therefore, while his evangelistic involvement in the Great Awakening is rightly celebrated, it is his pastoral accomplishments in Stockbridge that provides an effective model for today’s pastor.


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Easterling, J. (2018). From the Pulpit to the People. Theology of Leadership Journal, 1(2), 30-39. Retrieved from