It seems like this blog post mainly on current event, apologetics, and preaching.
One of the reason why I put up posts on preaching, and review of books on preaching is because expository preaching is one of the most important thing that a pastor can engage in. What and how he preaches matter!
Some might have right doctrines, and it’s important that we preach in a fashion that humanly speaking, not hinder the clear communication of gospel and biblical truths.
I know I have alot to learn in this regard, to grow as a better preacher. I want to preach in a way where God approves of it, and the people are fed spiritually by it.
Review of “12 Essential Skills for great preaching”
This book is very helpful when it comes to the actual skills of putting together an expository sermon. The author did a good job presenting the steps in a logical and clear fashion of twelve essential steps when it comes to preaching. Here in this review, I wish to share some of the insights that have helped me.
The book step by step approach helps the reader name the text idea and from there, bridging that into the sermon idea. The sermon idea and the text idea should be similar, but I have struggled in the past with how to craft the two propositions so that they are similar. What the book suggests is that the preacher find the subject of the text. Since the subject would be too broad, the next step is limiting it more specifically by adding a modifier. This subject/modifier would then be the basis for the sentence that gives the text idea in complete past tense and with the original historical references. This same subject/modifier is also used to write the sentence for the sermon idea, except the sentence would be worded in the present tense and as a universal statement.
The author also reminded the reader that preaching ought to be in some sense persuasive. For those who struggle with crafting the sermon as factual presentation, McDill’s discussion of the four element of persuasion is helpful: the explanation’s aim is to appeal to the intellect, illustration an appeal to imagination, argumentation an appeal to reason and application an appeal to volition. Together, the four persuasive elements are appealing to the entire person (Page 127).
The book also had a frank discussion about the “preacher’s block”, especially in the area of illustrations and how the truth of the source of it is really the preacher’s fault. This was convicting, but he doesn’t leave the readers helpless when it comes to natural analogies. The steps are summarized on page 149, but the helpful key was in the first two step of stating the idea in a clear complete sentence and then the second step of writing it out in a non-theological generalized concept.
The chapter on touching human experience was a moving chapter. As a young preacher, I struggle and wonder with awe how great men of God preaches and touches human experiences such as in my own life. For the author to share his insight was a blessing and a exhortation to preach to the need of God’s people. This has been something heavy on my heart recently, as I have asked God to help me in this area in preaching.
This leads to the chapter on aiming for a faith response in our preaching. God’s plan in preaching is ultimately to instill faith, since the measure of a Christian is not his ministry, moral life, etc, but faith (Page 190). Since the aim of preaching is to get a response of faith from the people, McDill suggests that rather than imperative or subjunctive emphasis in our preaching, we should ground it in the indicative of God’s promise. Therefore, rather than “ought” and “should”, the emphasis should be on “can” (Page 196-197). For instance, “You can love your neighbor” is exciting, and the capability is found in the power of God and thus a response of faith is needed to “You can”.
The format throughout the book was something that I appreciated as well. Each chapter ends with “Completing the Exercise” which summarizes the steps. Important principles are put in bold, which is good for referencing in the future. The forms and checklist after each chapter is also useful training wheels for sermon preparation.