Preaching; Experience and Emotions

I love receiving books to review about preaching, because 1) I preach regularly and 2) because I love preaching. Over the last few days I have read two very different books, one reflects on 50 years of Word ministry and the other focuses on the use of emotions in preaching (kind of). Let me say from the outset that I would highly recommend both of these books for any preacher. Maybe you preach weekly, monthly or annually, regardless, these books will help you grow as a preacher. I don’t like the cover on either of these books, but the contents are great! With both of these books I could fill the post with great quotes and insights, but here’s an insight into the contents of each book…

Transforming Preaching by David Jackman

David Jackman is a bit of a legend to the evangelical church scene in the UK. He is the founder and former director of the Cornhill Training Course and has a lot of experience teaching God’s Word. I’ll be straight from the get go; I opened this book thinking that I wouldn’t like it. I was expecting the typical ‘a, b, c’ model of Cornhill that I’ve seen over the years. But this book is something else. Yeah, sure, it has parts that you’d expect about what makes a good sermon, etc. But what Jackman does really well is draw the reader in to see the insuficiency of anything other than the faithful teaching of God’s Word.

Here is a flavour of the book as Jackman describes the reason for his writing the book;

“My purpose in writing then is to call each of us who has any responsibility for teaching the Bible to others, to whatever groups and at whatever level, to stop and consider as we re-evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it. Every generation faces its own particular challenges in ministry, as well as those which seem to have been constant throughout history. Ours is certainly no exception and so we need to identify some of the contemporary traps and pitfalls into which we can easily stumble, if we are not aware of our own blind spots. Perhaps more than anything else we need to re-discover, clarify and be convince about the priorities which the Bible itself gives us, as we explore its examples of what the early church was taught and how it was applied to life.”

I found this book to be such an encouragement, a challenge and a motivation to keep on serving and peaching faithfully the Word of God. If you’re a preacher, grab a copy. Buy a copy for your pastor and encourage him with it.

Preaching the heart of God by Mike Mellor

This is by far the best book I have read on the role of emotions in preaching. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not the ’emotional type’. I’m a bit like Captain Holt from Brooklyn 99. But recently I’ve been wrestling with the role of a biblical emotional life in the pulpit. This book does a phenomenal job at bringing it out.

Mellor begins with Aristotle and his breakdown of effective speech into three parts; ethos (integrity, character, creditability), logos (logic, reason, message), pathos (emotion, passion, persuasion). The book is basically about that last little bit, although he does deal with the previous two as well. Here’s what Mellor says about pathos;

“By ‘pathos’ I am arguing, on the human level, for a legitimate, appropriate display of passion from the preacher… Cold preaching produces cold Christians. Heartless preaching produces heartless Christians. Lethargic preaching produces lethargic Christians. But passionate preaching will produce passionate Christians”

In this book Mellor touches on some pretty massive topics such as the impassability of God, the need for pastorally sensitive and vulnerable preaching and for preachers to adopt the tone and emotion of the text they’re preaching. If you’re looking for a book on the role of emotions in preaching, this is the one. It’s short, its a quick read and Mellor has a ton of experience that he brings to the table. Don’t miss out and buy a copy now. It’ll be the best £8 you’ve ever spent.

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