This brief break from preaching through Chronicles–I know you’re disappointed–highlights a very helpful book. It’s
Preaching That Matters: Reflective Practices for Transforming Sermons by Lori J. Carrell.
First, Michael Quicke wrote the foreword. Michael and I met years ago through the Evangelical Homiletics Society. He is one of the most delightful persons I’ve ever met. Plus, he’s an excellent homiletician. His books are worth reading too.
But Carrell’s book is helpful for those of us who truly want to improve our preaching. It helps by providing so many snippets of interviews with pastors who wrestle with their preaching in light of attending preaching training sessions. You will find Carrell’s survey insightful, providing data from preachers and their listeners.
So, from time to time as I work my way through the rest of Chronicles, I will include some of Carrell’s insights that have helped me and may help you too.
Like, for instance, the preacher who says, even though he knows preaching is two-directional (the preacher communicates and the listeners must also think through what the preacher says):
“but my behavior when I’m preaching makes it appear that I don’t think anything is happening in the minds of my listeners” (p. 25).
So, when we’re preparing to preach and while we’re preaching we must keep in mind what may be in their minds when they hear what God is saying to the church.
Before Sunday, think about spending sermon minutes devoted to thinking about what your listeners are thinking. We send the message out; they, however, must receive that message. One way we work at preaching is making sure God’s message we preach isn’t distorted by the listeners. Look for things in your preaching portion that will get a reaction from your listeners. If that reaction is anything but genuine acceptance, do some work to reorient their thinking…
So God receives glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).