H.B. Charles, Jr. has provided a short and helpful resource for preachers in his book On Preaching. Charles from the very beginning of the book demonstrates his understanding of the vital importance of preaching for pastoral ministry.
Charles addresses three main areas surrounding preaching preparation for preaching, the practice of preaching, and general points of wisdom for preaching. Charles in addressing the need for preparation recommends that if one is able to get theological training at seminary they should, while also emphasizing that whether one attends formal schooling or not one should still be a student. He also addresses a bias towards candidates with a master’s degree in churches. This is a needed word for the church and for pastors. I know men who have graduated with a M.Div. and have departed the faith while on the other hand I know men who have never completed college who are faithfully serving the Lord in pastoral ministry. His focus on preparation focuses on preparing a preaching calendar, studying the text, and praying before preaching.
In his advice on preaching itself he recommends writing out a full manuscript before for clarity of communication and becoming familiar with the material in such a way that neither a manuscript or notes are needed. The overall focus of the final section is becoming comfortable with being yourself as a preacher and not trying to imitate or steal another preacher’s sermons or style. His last two chapters are probably ones that bear repeated reading as reminds preachers that we are not to seek to be somebody and that the aim of our charge is to be men of God who faithfully and rightly handle the word of God.
I think there is much to commend this book to wide audience of preachers and pastors. Rather than focusing on mechanics the author addresses the heart and soul of preaching ministry. He does not seek to give a one size fits all model of preaching and preparation but provides principals that would be applicable to any pastor of any background.
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