Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Prepare the Preacher While Preparing the Sermon

Dr. Leonard (Lenny) Luchetti has performed a service to those of us who preach by writing Preaching Essentials. The book is not designed to be a HOW-TO book on sermon preparation (though part of the text does speak to that task), rather the focus of the book is in preparing the man who will step into the pulpit to fulfil that job.

It was more than thirty years ago that I sat in the classroom of Dr. Lloyd Perry, whose class and textbook taught a method that I still use today as I prepare for the pulpit. Dr. Luchetti’s book would have served as a great compliment to Dr. Perry’s text. Dr. Perry focuses on preparing the message, Dr. Luchetti focuses on preparing the messenger.

I especially appreciated the fact that the author encourages the preacher to know his audience - as individuals, as a church, and as a community - providing several practical and effectibe tools for gathering these details. He goes further and provides tools for using the data collected and allowing it to impact the preacher and, from this, the sermon.

The book is appreciative of much that occurs in preaching, e.g. textual and topical, or linear and narrative. After taking time to describe each approach, Luchetti carefully outlines the strengths and weaknesses of each as well. What Luchetti does not do is detail how to prepare each kind of sermon.

Luchetti’s writing style is easy going and inviting. Chapters are short and remain on target. Though the book contains lots of suggestions which will contribute to a successful career in the pulpit. Though, not every suggestions includes specific examples, many of them do.

Unless used by a master teacher, this book is not suitable as the main text in a homiletics course. On the other hand, this book should be an ancillary text in every homiletics course. It provides the details needed by a successful preacher that will have received the tools and methods for developing a message from another resource. I do wish it had been used thirty years ago as I sat in Dr. Lloyd Perry’s classroom.

The practicing preacher will want to use this enjoyable book as a tool to refresh and prepare for the next few years of his or her career.
This review was prepared using a free electronic copy of the book provided by the publisher.

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