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Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers

, 2011
ISBN: 9780830868322
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What is it that makes a highly effective preacher so effective? In Excellence in Preaching, pastor and author Simon Vibert examines this question in depth. This highly readable book is the result of a thorough study of some of the best preachers in the world, providing insight on how to do what Vibert states good preachers do: “make you strive for Christlikeness and value the great things that God is doing in his church.” Throughout this text he demonstrates how it pays to stop and examine: what are good preachers doing well? And what can we learn from them?

In each chapter Vibert outlines how world-renowned preachers like Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, John Ortberg and others do especially well, and how they accomplish it practically. This text covers issues such as being aware of cultural and philosophical challenges to the Gospel, inspiring a passion for the glory of God, letting the Bible speak with simplicity and freshness, teaching with directness, challenge and relevance, exposing all of God’s Word to all of God’s people, and much more.

Excellence in Preaching offers the fresh opportunity to learn from years of varied experience of some of the world’s most respected preachers, all compiled in one place. And in the Logos Bible Software edition, you can deepen your study with just a few clicks, as this fully indexed text enables near-instant search results for words, people, places, and ideas, while Scripture references appear on mouseover in your preferred translation. Logos tablet and mobile apps also let you take your study wherever you go.

Resource Experts
  • Examines an array of preachers from around the world
  • Offers practical insights into effective preaching
  • Gathers the wisdom of many years of preaching together, carefully analyzed by the insights of a fellow preacher
  • Preface
  • Introduction: Preaching the Bible Way
  • Jesus Christ the Preacher: Setting the Supreme Standard
  • Tim Keller: Be Aware Of Cultural And Philosophical Challenges To The Gospel
  • John Piper: Inspire a Passion For the Glory of God
  • Vaughan S. Roberts: Let the Bible Speak with Simplicity and Freshness
  • Simon Ponsonby: Be a Word and Spirit Preacher
  • J. John: Use Humor and Story to Connect, Engage and Dismantle Barriers
  • David Cook: Create Interest; Apply Well
  • John Ortberg: Preach with Spiritual Formation in Mind
  • Nicky Gumbel: Make Much of Jesus Christ
  • Rico Tice: Preach With Urgency and Evangelistic Zeal
  • Alistair Begg: Persuade People of the Importance Your Point by Passionate Argument From the Bible
  • Mark Driscoll: Teach with Directness, Challenge and Relevance
  • Mark Dever: Expose All of God's Word to All of God's People
  • Conclusion: Preaching That Changes Lives
  • Appendix: The Survey and Online Resources
  • Notes
  • The Profile of a Good Preacher
  • Appendix 1: Blog Thoughts on “Preaching in an Internet Age”
  • Appendix 2: Favorite Preacher Survey Results

Top Highlights

“In order to prepare for a new sermon series, he advocates reading the Bible book over and over again, asking oneself the question, What is the thrust and what are some of the main themes? ‘You cannot get the message today before you have got the message then. In this way you will find it has many applications,’” (Page 52)

“Vaughan argues that unless the preacher is absolutely convinced that preaching matters, he will not find the time to prepare properly for it. And it is a massive effort week by week to carve out time for preparation.” (Page 53)

“The preacher is a bridge-builder relating God’s never-changing word to our ever-changing world.” (Page 53)

“Leo Tolstoy: ‘Everyone thinks of changing humanity; no one thinks of changing themselves.’” (Page 74)

“Expect that God will transform the congregation through the very message you have preached” (Page 68)

Many things will help raise the standard of preaching around the world, but one of the most significant—and underrated—is the need for good models. Simon Vibert provides compelling examples of what constitutes good preaching, not that we emulate superstars, but that we learn from the dynamic interplay of the Word, the Spirit, the congregation, and the rich variety of human personality. This is an illuminating read for preachers and listeners alike, and I warmly commend it.

—Jonathan Lamb, director of Langham Preaching, Langham Partnership International

This is an imaginative and encouraging book, demonstrating how the best of the best of preachers actually do it. Fresh, stimulating, and constantly challenging, it made me want to start preparing a sermon immediately! I can’t imagine any preacher not being inspired to pick up the task with new courage and at the same time to give thanks for the privilege.

—John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford

Simon Vibert studies some of today's most effective preachers and shows us what makes their preaching so powerful. These elements, interestingly, aren't always immediately apparent. Yes, preaching is a performance art, ‘truth through personality,’ but Vibert identifies elements that are transferable from these marquee pulpiteers to the rest of us. Excellence in Preaching gives us ‘ears to hear’ what we wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

Marshall Shelley, editor in chief, Leadership Journal

  • Title: Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers
  • Author: Simon Vibert
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 173

Simon Vibert is vice principal and director of the School of Preaching at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He previously served as chairman of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit and has two decades of experience in parish ministry. As one of John Stott’s Langham Trainers, Vibert has equipped pastors in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Serbia, and Haiti. Vibert studied at Oak Hill College in London, Glasgow University in Scotland, and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, where his thesis was on the preaching of John Piper. He is also the author of Lives Jesus Changed and The Diamond Marriage.


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  1. Jason A. Smith

    Jason A. Smith


  2. Bill Shewmaker
  3. Jesse Williams


Digital list price: $12.99
Save $3.00 (23%)