“A Little Handbook for Preachers” by Mary S Hulst

A Little Handbook for Preachers: Ten Practical Ways to a Better Sermon by SundayA Little Handbook for Preachers: Ten Practical Ways to a Better Sermon by Sunday by Mary S Hulst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ten practical ways to a better sermon by Sunday. Ah, the allure of self-help books and “ten simple step” works. To be honest, the ten steps are not short or simple, but they are practical and beneficial. Look at a sermon as an illustrative speech filled with metaphors and lessons. This book helps fill in the rest of the dots: (i) biblical preaching, (ii) G-d focused preaching, (iii) grace-filled preaching, (iv) compelling preaching, (v) imaginative preaching, (vi) contextual preaching, (vii) relevant preaching, (viii) embodied preaching, (ix) selfless preaching, and (x) getting feedback about one’s preaching. The first nine points can help one either “preach at others” or be one that teaches others how to fish – your call how you apply the lessons, but only the latter is of any value and the former only keeps the church irrelevant. Make it teaching, not preaching, and engage relationally. The last step is one everyone should have known already – get feedback or you won’t be in sync with your congregation (duh!).
The author aims this book at those who are new to preaching or those who are worn out. It is a different style than seminary requires, but one that can be used with seminary teaching. That said, it is not the only style and one should “mix it up” to see what works best in every scenario. The book can help with learning practical improvements to preaching, but one that preaches should continually be learning how to improve and be a better teacher as well as discipler. Personally, this book is not for me. I’m not a preacher and I dislike the term preacher, instead looking for a way to foster spiritual conversations, relationships, and small group discipleship. For those that are like me, this book might be of little value (or some if you need these steps), but those who find themselves in a pulpit every Sunday might find a tidbit or two that is worth your while…

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

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