Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Preaching Styles

I ask about this subject one time to a fellow preacher, who immediately tried to label me a Liberal. But here goes.
The first college I attended, Ohio Valley College now University, I had a course in Homiletics taught by Clarence DeLoach, Jr. we used two texts books as I recall - One was - "Sermon Design & Delivery by Thomas H. Holland" I think at the time was professor at Freed-Hardeman College, now University in Henderson, TN. Now the other was On the Preparation & Delivery of Sermons by John A. Broadus originally written in 1870 by a Baptist preacher. I say that because often times when I mention the next books I am told something like I wouldn't put much stock in so and so's book he is a Baptist or Methodist or whatever. I would dare say if that is the case I would have to throw away over 90% of my library and others would too.
I try and make it a point to read at least one book a year about Preaching/Sermon design, preparation and delivery. One of the things that has bothered me is when you go to the New Testament you don't see Jesus or the Apostles delivering sermons containing an Introduction, Discussion with anywhere from 3 to 20 points and a conclusion. There are a couple of other books that bear this fact out. One is a book edited by William R. Baker "Evangelicalism & The Stone - Campbell Movement, and a book by Richard Hughes, no relation that I know of entitled "The Emergence of the Church of Christ" he points to a difference between the preaching styles of Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott. Campbell's a more logical left brain approach of Introduction, Body: point 1, point 2, and etc., Conclusion approach derived from Sir Francis Bacon and that of Walter Scott's more Inductive approach.
There are several good books about preaching and styles I would like to list for you. First are those whose authors are members of the church both Liberal and conservative:

Preachers & Preaching by James P. Needham not so much a how to prepare but a treatise on the Preacher and his work.
Preaching: Principles & Practice Vols. 1 & 2 by Thomas H. Holland
Essential Elements of Expository Preaching - Thomas H. Holland
Preaching Man & Method by Stafford North Professor at Oklahoma Christian University
Man of God - Essays on the Life & Work of the Preacher edited by Gospel Advocate several well known men contributed to the writing.
God Demands Doctrinal Preaching Edited by Thomas B. Warren & Garland Elkins.
These are about the old tried and true methods of - Topical, Expository and Textual type lessons.

There are some by denominational fellows that emphasis basically the same idea. A few that I consider classics of late are:
How to prepare Bible Messages by James Braga
12 Essential steps to great preaching - Wayne McDill
Steps to the Sermon by Brown, Clinard, Northcutt, & Fasol
A practical guide to sermon preparation - Jerry Vines
Anointed Expository Preaching - Steven Olford
Expository Preaching - John MacArthur
The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching - Haddon Robinson Craig Larson
Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson

Of late there has been talk of Narrative preaching, Inductive Preaching
These methods have been advocated by men such as
Fred Craddock in his book Preaching
Ralph L. Lewis in his book called - Inductive Preaching - an interesting concept in itself.
Telling the Old Old Story by David L. Larsen where he advocates that Narrative style is what was done in New Testament times.

I could name more as I have far more on my shelves. A lot of these books, 10 of them I had to read as a part of my Doctorate of Ministry program I finished a few years ago. Some of these I have read as a part of my goal of reading and studying at least one book a year about preaching and preparation. My feeling as preachers we never stop learning and need to know more about what is going to appeal to our audience without compromising the message. How can we preach and the congregation still remember and internalize the message we are trying to get through.

Now I prefaced all of this to ask this question: Have any of you heard about a method being noised about called "One Point Preaching" google it you will find all kinds of articles. To boil it down to a simple idea it is to take you regular: Intro, Body - 1st Point, 2nd Point, etc. and Conclusion and take and deal with only one of the points in a sermon. So if you have a sermon say with 4 points instead of doing a sermon with 4 points you do 4 sermons with one point each. There is a book I have ordered by a fellow named Andy Stanley that advocates this idea - "Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication" that speaks to this method. I guess the idea is the x-generation is used to the fast paced action of TV, entertainment that one point is basically all they can take in.

Would be interested in your thought on this.