How would you rate your preaching skills? When you walk up to the pulpit on Sunday morning, what do you carry with you?
Maybe it’s a gnawing anxiety over a point you needed just one more hour to develop. Or perhaps it’s excitement for the central idea of your message.
Or do you carry prayers for the family in your congregation who most needs to hear the words you’re about to speak? It could even be a sense of unworthiness to deliver God’s message to his people.
Or is it peace—knowing that you’ve sought to understand God’s Word, and the rest is up him?
Your thoughts during that Sunday-morning journey likely changes week to week, but your commitment remains the same. As John Wesley said, “Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.”
With preaching, some commitments are non-negotiable.
Still, there are skills preachers can develop to make that weekly journey to the pulpit a little less trepidatious. To be sure, no boots-on-the-ground methodology or tools of the trade can ever replace reliance on God to transform lives. But as a preacher, you should never stop learning, never stop improving, and “not neglect the gift that is within you” (I Tim. 4:14).
With that in mind, we pulled together 31 volumes to help you cultivate your preaching skills. If you’re looking to round out your library with a solid set of preaching resources, this collection is for you.
Here are 8 essential skills every preacher can cultivate with the Preaching Collection.
Improve your delivery
How we say something matters just as much as what we say. The core of our messages can be subverted by the way we present them. By developing our delivery skills, we can better connect with our hearers and impart to them the truths we’ve discovered from God’s Word.
Many resources in the Preaching Collection can help you develop your delivery skills, including Transformational Preaching: A Guide to Developing and Delivering Sermons and How Sermons Work. These and other resources in this collection provide a refresher on the nuts and bolts of sermon prep and include extensive portions specifically on improving your delivery.
Find your own unique voice
Hopefully, you’re not a preacher to make much of yourself, but to make much of God. Still, the unique personality given to you by God will be apparent in your sermon content and delivery. It’s not enough to simply imitate your favorite preachers; you have a unique calling given to you by God, and many would argue your sermons should reflect that.
This collection includes Well-Driven Nails: The Power of Finding Your Own Voice. Featuring conversations with preachers such as R.C. Sproul and John Piper, Byron F. Yawn’s helpful resource is designed to help you find your own voice and overcome the fear of man in your devotion to Christ.
Understand the biblical languages
Having at least a basic understanding of the original languages can dramatically improve your exegesis. This collection includes two resources to help you develop your skills with biblical Greek. In Greek is Good Grief: Laying the Foundation for Exegesis and Interpretation, John Harvey moves you through the simple Greek of John 1 through the more advanced passages in 1 Thessalonians, laying the groundwork for the exegesis and exposition for which he equips you in Greek is Great Gain.
Grow a deep appreciation of story
It’s no coincidence that the Bible includes so many stories. The entire Scripture can be read as a great three-act drama of creation, fall, and redemption. Stories aren’t just a trick preachers use to get their hearers to pay attention; they’re powerful forces that help Christians understand how God’s Word impacts their lives and how they fit into the redemptive story God is playing out in the universe. In The Preacher as Storyteller, Bob Allen explores how preachers can leverage the power of story to transform the lives of their listeners.
Build solid outlines
Every time I sit down to prepare a sermon, I hear the words of my old homiletics professor echo in my ears: “I want to see the bones!” He was insistent that every sermon needs a solid outline on which to hang the hard-fought exposition, illustration, and application we’d spent hours honing. This collection includes many resources that will give you a head start as you develop your own homiletical outlines, including the five-volume Pulpit Outline Series and Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament.
Craft great illustrations
The best illustrations aren’t just fillers to lighten the mood or cute stories to pull on the heartstrings of your listeners. A well-placed, carefully delivered illustration brings biblical truth home to the lives of your listeners, relates abstract theological ideas to concrete, real-life examples, and demonstrates how to integrate the message of your sermon into everyday life.
That’s not even half of what great illustrations can accomplish, and finding ones that can do all that is pretty daunting. That’s why we included More Perfect Illustrations in the Preaching Collection. It’s a handy reference when you’re searching for an illustration that connects. And with Exploring the Mind and Heart of the Prince of Preachers you can access more than 5,000 illustrations and anecdotes from Charles Spurgeon himself.
Learn from the greats
The concert violist intently studies the work of virtuosos; the aspiring painter sits at the feet of the master; and the great preachers learn from those who came before. This collection includes sermons from Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Augustine, John Wesley, D.L. Moody, and many more. They’re all included in resources like the 10-volume The World’s Great Sermons and the five-volume John Calvin and Martin Luther Sermon Collection.
Focus on application and transformation
Most all preachers would agree: the goal of preaching is not the transfer of information but life transformation. That’s why thinking critically about application is so important. Many resources in the Preaching Collection help you do just that, but Transformational Preaching: A Guide to Developing and Delivering Sermons is specifically designed to help you move from exegesis to application.