Review: 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching

12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching
12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching by Wayne McDill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book. This is one of the most practical books on preaching I’ve read. McDill spends the major part of this book focusing on aspects of preparation and a little bit of space is given to pulpit delivery. I think this balance is right because preaching today suffers more from poor preparation than poor delivery. In fact, many preachers are trying to make up for poor preparation through their efforts in delivery, but that doesn’t work.

I had a couple of places where I differed with the author. He didn’t push a/v media in preaching, but I think anything that is short of denouncing it in the most strenuous terms is too soft. In this area, I might be a curmudgeon but I don’t see any reason to change the biblical definition of preaching. I think a/v can serve a good purpose in teaching and other settings, but I believe it has no place in preaching. I’m simply giving my view and understanding here, for every servant stands or falls before his own master.

The skills presented for use in interpreting a passage are very good. He gives real practical help for a preacher to work through the passage on his own before opening other books and such. The first skill a preacher needs to develop is getting the meaning of the text. In fact, it is a skill that preachers ought to constantly be developing and honing.

This is a textbook for seminary courses on preaching. It includes worksheets and samples that are very helpful. For this reason, it will be good to have a hard copy. I read it on Kindle but I will be getting a hard copy to make more use of the worksheets. I definitely recommend this book and I have two words particularly for young preachers. First, this book is packed with a lot of information. That can be overwhelming because you think how can I incorporate all this into preaching? You can focus on a skill at a time and give it the time you need. I certainly suggest starting with the skills of interpreting a passage. Second, I never approach a book like this with the idea of being a slave to it. The author doesn’t that idea for you either. For instance, he mentions mapping out your own plan of preparation. I will end with this caution. Before you can develop your own plan and way of doing things, you need to understand what you are trying to do and what tools can be used to do it. I think this book can help you with that.

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