Reflections on A Year of Books on Preaching
I’ve just completed a yearlong project reading, reviewing, and summarizing books on preaching. I introduced the project here:
If you want to grow in your preaching ability, I’d like to invite you to a year of reading preaching books with me…My hope is that we will all grow as preachers this year by reading and reflecting on these books. I’d love for you to join me.
Here are some reflections on the project.
- Concentrated reading on a subject is both useful and helpful. I started this project, in part, because of all the helpful books I had sitting on my shelves that I’d never read. I needed this project to motivate me to read them.
- We never get beyond the basics. I didn’t learn a lot of new things this year, but I was reminded of the basics. Our problem isn’t generally a lack of knowledge. It’s that we forget the few things that matter most. I needed the reminders in this year’s books.
- Preaching is both an art and a science. Although many of the books covered the basics, some books examined intricate parts of the preaching task. Preaching involves so many overlapping skills, and it’s possible to become overwhelmed by trying to master even one of them (like hermeneutics, cultural analysis, and communication theory). We need to take deep dives into each of these areas. At the same time, preaching is also an art. Some of the books were written by practitioners who handle these areas intuitively rather than scholars who’ve analyzed them. I appreciated both approaches.
- We need books by practitioners. While I appreciated all the books, I’m especially grateful for books written by local church pastors. They have a different flavor. I know there’s some debate on whether pastor-scholars exist, but I believe they do, and we need to hear from them.
- I picked too many books. Participation was much lower in the Facebook group than I expected. I get the impression that reading twelve books was too much.
- Preaching matters. I finished the year more convinced than ever of the importance of preaching. It’s worth doing, and it’s worth doing well.
Next week I’ll be launching a new project for the year: A Year of Books on Pastoring. Stay tuned. I hope you’ll join me.
List of Reviews and Quotes/Takeaways
Here’s a list of the books we read, with a link to the reviews and summaries:
- Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Preaching That Changes Lives by Michael Fabarez — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Preaching the Whole Counsel of God: Design and Deliver Gospel-Centered Sermons by Julius Kim — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life by Robert Smith — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers by T. David Gordon — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today by David Helm — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Encountering God through Expository Preaching: Connecting God’s People to God’s Presence through God’s Word by Ryan Fullerton, Jim Orrick, and Brian Payne — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- The Glory of Preaching: Participating in God’s Transformation of the World by Darrell Johnson — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- Integrative Preaching: A Comprehensive Model for Transformational Proclamation by Kent Anderson — Review, Interview, and Quotes/Takeaways
- Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons That Connect with Our Culture by Zack Eswine — Review and Quotes/Takeaways
- On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching by H.B. Charles — Review and Quotes/Takeaways