Ministry Thoughts and Life Insights from Dr. James Merritt

by Cory Mansfield, SermonSearch Staff

I love getting to know our contributors. To read about their favorite books, authors, music and movies, I am reminded that they are people just like you and me. I really enjoy hearing about their morning routines and their advice on keeping their relationship with Jesus alive and vibrant. This week, we had the privilege of hearing from Dr. James Merritt.

Dr. James Merritt served as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2000 to 2002, and is currently serving as the Lead Pastor at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia. He is committed to preaching God's Word in a clear and concise manner. Let's listen in to some insights on life and ministry from Dr. James Merritt. 

Merritt Photo

What is the best part of your job?

Preaching the Word and seeing lives transformed

Do you have any advice for preparing sermons?

Develop a filing system and prioritize the time in the study

Do you have any advice for how to keep your walk with Jesus vibrant and alive?

Begin every day with the Word and prayer and keep sharing Jesus

Do you have any advice on how to balance your walk with God, your family, and your ministry?

Keep God first, family second, and church a DISTANT third. Schedule daily and weekly times together and a good yearly vacation with family.

Can you share some advice for Pastors starting out in the ministry?

Don’t get too high in the highs nor too low in the lows. Preach the Word and do the work of an evangelist. Don’t ever counsel with or be with a woman alone---ever.

Now for a few rapid fire questions.

Caf or Decaf


Last Movie You Watched

The Jungle Book

Books on Your Nightstand

Sending by Losing by J. D. Greear

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Same-Sex Attraction and the Church by Ed Shaw

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick

The Anatomy of Greatness: Lessons From the Best Golf Swings in History by Brandel Chamblee

Our Lost Constitution by Senator Mike Lee

Favorite Books(s) of the Bible

James and John; Acts; Romans

Favorite Verse(s)

John 14:6

Top 5 Authors

Max Lucado, Mark Batterson, Chuck Swindoll, John Stott, David McCullough

What Does Your Morning Routine Look Like

Quiet time, Workout, Study

What Day Do You Take off to Unwind


How Do You Unwind


Best Movie You’ve Seen

Tie: The Sting, Gladiator, Outlaw Josey Wales, Braveheart, The Godfather

Biggest Influence Growing Up

My mom

Worship Songs You Are Listening to Right Now

How Great Is Our God, Flawless, Amazing Grace (Tomlin)

Charcoal or Gas

Charcoal—Big Green Egg


So there it is. A challenging and encouraging Q & A session with Dr. James Merritt. I hope you were stretched in your faith and received some very real and practical advice on how you can stay true to your calling as a preacher of God’s Word. I particularly appreciated his advice for pastors just starting out in the ministry. Those words definitely apply to both new pastors as well as those who have pursued this calling for years.


Posted in Preaching