Whether you are a new preacher or a seasoned veteran, there is always room to grow. And, in order to help us grow as faithful servants and communicators, there are all kinds of resources available – websites, blogs, videos, books, etc. The challenge is often finding the time to put those resources to work.
In One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills, Daniel Overdorf (Dean of the School of Congregational Ministry and Professor of Preaching at Johnson University in Knoxville, TN) has offered a great resource to pastors that is both useful and manageable. Overdorf’s book offers practical exercises that help the preacher grow, while delivering them in a format that makes them easy to implement in the course of a ministry week.
I must admit that I read through the book in a way that is not in keeping with its intent. I simply read it through to evaluate its content for this review. It would be much more helpful to take one exercise at a time, using it to grow in a certain aspect of the preaching task. A preacher or Bible-teacher could use the book in a straight-through manner (using one exercise per week for an entire year – as the title suggests). Or, one could choose exercises based upon an area where specific growth is needed. Because the book groups the exercises into eight different aspects of preaching (Prayer & Preaching; Bible Interpretation; Understanding Listeners; Sermon Construction; etc.), the reader can simply choose an area of perceived weakness and complete all the exercises designed to strengthen that particular area.
Many of the exercises are ones that preachers with any experience have already thought about. Others, however, are less obvious but still very beneficial for growing as a preacher of God’s Word. All of the exercises are simple to understand and follow.
This book is a helpful resource for preachers of all ages, regardless of the number of years of preaching experience. I have already recommended it to one young pastor and will use it with others I have the opportunity to mentor in the future. All the while, the book will serve as a tool for personal growth in my own preaching. I strongly recommend it.
(FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for writing this unbiased review.)