Three New Preaching Books from Weaver!
We don’t often think of preachers in the same class as politicians or lawyers—thank goodness! And yet all three professions place heavy use on public speaking and persuasion. The best communicators—regardless of profession—that I’ve personally known continue to hone their skills. Great preachers read other preachers’ sermons, and they regularly read good books about preaching and effective communication. Today, we are pleased to release three new books from Weaver Book Company that allow Accordance users to up their game when it comes to effective proclamation from the pulpit. And all three titles would make great reading on the go on your iOS device or Windows tablet.
Although I grew up under a pastor who never took notes into the pulpit, I’ve never been able to do the same. I will undoubtedly forget the most important point of my message if I don’t at least have an outline. But that’s partly because I’ve usually tried to memorize a message that I first composed in written form.
Click/tap the image on the left to see a larger view of Preaching by Ear on a Windows tablet.
In his book Preaching by Ear, Dave McClellan attempts to wrestle us away from the formal sermon most of us were taught to construct in seminary—whether that’s a complete manuscript or an outline derived from it. McClellen wants us to rely on personal experience and preach from the heart, a method that he says has been neglected since the beginning of the printing press, when we began focusing on the written aspect of a sermon rather than its oral presentation.
McClellan may be on to something here. Consider the difference between a written account of a sporting event versus a commentator’s live play-by-play delivery. The latter is undoubtedly more engaging. Should our sermons reflect this kind of dynamic style, too? McClellan certain thinks so, and he draws upon figures from outside the church (Aristotle) and from within (Augustine) to make his point.
You may or may not agree with all of McClellan’s points, but I believe Preaching by Ear to be a very informative and challenging approach. And if you’ve found your sermons falling on deaf ears lately or generally lacking in their effectiveness, this may be just the kind of method necessary to re-orient the way you preach. Odds are, this is probably not the method you were taught in seminary.
Preaching by Ear
Regular Price $15.90
Years ago, I taught communication classes to business students at a Christian university. We covered different kinds of public speaking—everything from informative speeches to entertaining and persuasive addresses. Toward the end of my experience teaching these classes, I began to notice a cultural shift was taking place in which persuasion was starting to be seen in a less-favorable light. In my evaluation, persuasion was often mistakenly equated with manipulation, but the two are very different from one another.
Click/tap the image on the right to see a larger view of Persuasive Preaching on an iPad Pro.
I even saw this viewpoint played out in a church I visited a few years back in which the pastor (a friend of mine) delivered a very interesting explanation of one of Jesus’ parables, but he never offered any opportunity for the hearers to apply Jesus’ words. He never gave any challenge, and the invitation was negligible. I asked him about it later, and he told me that he felt he should let his congregation (which in another conversation he complained was shrinking) make that connection for themselves.
Larry Overstreet’s book Persuasive Preaching: A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion is a return to the biblical principles of persuading an audience to make some kind of change. In the first chapter, Overstreet writes,
I believe Scripture mandates that the goal of preaching is ultimately to effect change in the listeners, that is, to bring them into conformity with the will and Word of God. Therefore, I present the following definition as the foundation of persuasive preaching to be considered in this book.
Persuasive preaching is
(a) the process of preparing biblical, expository messages using a persuasive pattern, and
(b) presenting them through verbal and nonverbal communication means
(c) to autonomous individuals who can be convicted and/or taught by God’s Holy Spirit,
(d) in order to alter or strengthen
(e) their attitudes and beliefs toward God, His Word, and other individuals,
(f) resulting in their lives being transformed into the image of Christ.
Overstreet presents a biblical and balanced guide to the proper use of persuasion in biblical preaching. This book should be read by every pastor, regardless of experience. To deny a goal of persuasion in one’s sermons is to court defeat from the outset.
In Acts 26:28, we read, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, 'You almost persuade me to become a Christian'” (NKJV). Indeed. That is the point, is it not?
Persuasive Preaching: A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion
Regular Price $24.90
If you’ve never heard of Preaching Points, go immediately and subscribe to the podcast from the Center for Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I’ve listened to these discussions about effective preaching on and off over the years (and even listened to it on CDs back before podcasts became a thing) and still benefit from principles I learned years ago.
Click/tap the image on the left to see a larger view of Preaching Points on an iPhone.
If you wanted to go back as far as you could and catch up on every podcast episode of Preaching Points, you would have a very daunting task ahead of you. There are over 450 episodes of the podcast available and even more archived on the Gordon-Conwell website. Listening to all of this content would certainly be an immensely powerful class in effective homiletics, but it would all be very time consuming.
Fortunately, the best of Preaching Points has been distilled down to 55 primary tips for improving your preaching. Everything is here from “Preaching the Big Idea” to “Preach ‘We’ More than ‘You.’” None of the 55 sections are very long, but they do contain a lot to think about and implement. For those of you who preach weekly, I would recommend taking one chapter a week. Reflect on the tip and attempt to put it into practice in your next sermon. In a little over a year’s time, don’t be surprised if you don’t see dramatic improvements in “your pulpit ministry.”
Regular Price $9.90