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The Heart of the Preacher: Preparing Your Soul to Proclaim the Word

ISBN: 9781683593485
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Print list price: $18.99
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Cultivating the Preacher’s Heart

You can teach the craft, but you must first form the heart.

Many preachers want to preach better, but they don’t always know how to go about improvement, and most books on preaching focus on the mechanics of the craft.

But preaching involves more than the steps to take a text to sermon, because every time a preacher stands up to preach, their character shines through—for better or for worse.

In The Heart of the Preacher, Rick Reed focuses on the personal heart preparation required before any preacher is ready to preach. He explores issues preachers often wrestle with—like discouragement, insecurity, and pride. He then offers practices to fight these challenges and form a heart that carries the fruit of the Spirit into the pulpit.

It takes more than a good speaker to preach. It takes a Spirit-filled person. This book will help you check your heart and cultivate the most important aspect of preaching: your character.

From the Foreword to Heart of the Preacher

No one will be able to take from the shoulders of responsible pastors the heavy loads of ministry. But Rick Reed writes from pastoral experience and leadership to help us understand what will test the pastoral heart and what God provides to strengthen it. Pastors who are willing to look clearly and unflinchingly into the challenges for continued ministry that reside in their own hearts will find The Heart of the Preacher invaluable and re-invigorating for ministry.

—Bryan Chapell, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, President emeritus, Covenant Seminary

Praise for The Heart of the Preacher

Preachers like me need their hearts tested and strengthened. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have as a mentor and guide through this process than Rick Reed. There's so much helpful counsel in The Heart of the Preacher on everything from redeeming ambition to dealing with Blue Mondays to practicing soul care to making the most of Saturday nights. I plan to require this book for the preaching classes I teach. First, though, I need to read it again to prepare my heart for the task of proclaiming God's Word.

–Steven D. Mathewson, pastor, Crosslife Evangelical Free Church (Libertyville, IL); Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Western Seminary (Portland, OR); author of The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative

There are plenty of books to teach you how to prepare a sermon, but there are few books that will teach you how to prepare your heart to preach a sermon. Building out of a lifetime’s experience, Rick Reed has addressed this extra level of mastery in preaching. Your heart is worth paying attention to, and so is this book.

–Kenton C. Anderson, President and Professor of Homiletics, Northwest Baptist Seminary; author of Integrative Preaching

In The Heart of the Preacher, Rick Reed comes alongside preachers to encourage and challenge them to reach their potential and fulfill their high calling. As you read this book you will benefit from Reed’s wisdom, but more than that, you will encounter his heart—a heart that beats with grace and truth.

–Jim L. Wilson, Professor of Leadership Formation and Doctor of Ministry Director, Gateway Seminary

The Heart of the Preacher is as easy to read as it is hard to hear. With refreshing and unrelenting honesty, Rick Reed gifts those of us who preach with a disturbingly accurate MRI of our souls, and then helpfully guides us forward. Every pastor needs to buy this book. And give a copy to a colleague.

–J. Kent Edwards, Professor of Preaching and Leadership, Talbot School of Theology; Founder/CEO, CrossTalk Global

Henri Nouwen once said, ‘If we don’t have a hidden life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit.’ This thoughtful book is a useful tool for encouraging and equipping preachers toward this end. I’m thankful for Rick Reed’s desire to help develop healthy and sustainable ministers of the gospel.

–Curtis Zackery, author of Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life; Return to Sabbath

Top Highlights

“ faithfulness without fanfare makes us well-known to Jesus.” (Page 31)

“My big surprise came when I realized the hardest work a preacher must do happens within the preacher’s own heart.” (Page xv)

“The two languages a preacher must speak fluently are grace and truth.” (Page 51)

“He urged pastors to set aside an hour for studying a passage ten days before they would preach it.” (Page 39)

“In his book No Little People, Francis Schaeffer writes, ‘As there are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places. To be wholly committed to God in the place where God wants him—this is the creature glorified.’ Schaeffer goes further; he counsels that we not seek a bigger place ‘unless the Lord himself extrudes us into a greater one.’” (Page 32)


  • Foreword by Bryan Chapell
  • Introduction
  • Part I: The Testing of a Preacher’s Heart
    • Ambition
    • Comparison
    • Boasting
    • Insignificance
    • Laziness
    • Stagnating
    • Speaking One Language
    • Fear
    • Retreating
    • Criticism
    • Disengaged Listeners
    • Blue Mondays
    • Failure
    • Pain
    • Quitting
  • Part II: The Strengthening of a Preacher’s Heart
    • Practice Personal Soul Care
    • Devote Yourself to Prayer and the Word
    • Stay on the Expository Path
    • Right-Size Your Expectations
    • Develop Internal Security
    • Listen to Your Closest Ally
    • Make the Most of Saturday Nights
    • Do the Work of an Evangelist
    • Don’t Kill the Horse
    • Keep Your First Love
  • Conclusion

Product Details

  • Title: The Heart of the Preacher: Preparing Your Soul to Proclaim the Word
  • Author: Rick Reed
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Page Count: 160
  • Format: Logos Digital, Hardcover
  • Trim Size: 5x8
  • ISBN: 9781683593485

About Rick Reed

Rick Reed (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves as the president of Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Prior to coming to Heritage, Rick served as a pastor in California and Ontario. He has been a plenary and seminar presenter for Billy Graham’s School of Evangelism and is a master coach for the Global Proclamation Academy in Dallas, Texas with REACH ministries.

Sample Pages from The Heart of the Preacher


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  1. rev.cosme arana
  2. Faithlife User
  3. Aaron Lee

    Aaron Lee


    This past year has given me many preaching opportunities. While I typically teach Sunday School, I have been open to speaking where God would have me go. While I appreciate books that help me with the style and substance of preaching, I must not neglect to examine my heart. The Heart of the Preacher by Rick Reed is a book that I believe is helpful and crucial for my spiritual formation as I am given and take more opportunities to preach. Preparing Your Soul Author Rick Reed is the president of Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. He was also the plenary and seminar presenter for Billy Graham’s School of Evangelism and is a master coach for the Global Proclamation Academy in Dallas, Texas with REACH ministries. These qualifications alone seem staggering for a small-town teacher like me, but he writes in a way that is accessible, pastoral, and practical. The book is divided into two halves. The first half is all about Testing the Preacher’s Heart, and it calls us to examine our heart motives and attitudes. The second half is about Strengthening the Preacher’s Heart, and it offers encouragement and practical help to preachers. He keeps his chapters and paragraphs short by sticking to the point. Reed typically opens his chapters with a personal real-example or anecdote. He then takes us to Scripture to see what it has to say. He cuts the text clearly and points out what we need to notice. He then offers encouragement and gives advice grounded in wisdom. Proclaiming the Word The issues that this book tackles are not surface-level or cliche. Chapter 5 is about laziness. While many might think they are busy, Reed cuts deeper and reveals how busyness may be a sign of laziness, especially in preaching. Reed challenges his readers to become excellent preachers. In Chapter 8, he uses the memorable example of music soloists foregoing their music in order to establish a deeper connection and better communicate with the audience. In the same way, he challenges preachers to combat fear and try speaking without sermon manuscripts and notes. While this book offers much introspection, Reed also teaches our hearts how to rightfully respond to others. For example, chapter 11 deals with disengaged listeners, and he writes about preaching to the dozing and the disgruntled. Forming Our Hearts This book offers excellent content on topics that are pertinent to preachers for congregations of all sizes and shapes. What I appreciate most, however, is that Reed does not seek to make himself the hero of his book. He lets us learn from his examples, typically embarrassingly awkward failures, and encourages us. He exhorts us to trust in God. He causes us to look to Christ. He asks us to depend on the Holy Spirit. And when I read his writing I can perceive his heart. It is the heart of a humble preacher. And it is one that I want to cultivate for myself. I was provided a complimentary copy of The Heart of the Preacher in exchange for an honest review.


Print list price: $18.99
Save $6.00 (31%)