Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review Reading for Preaching

Every Sunday I have to prepare a sermon. For the first few years it was not that bad since I was preaching from the abundance of my recent knowledge at seminary. However, a few years into my pastorate I was having serious problems. Trying to prepare an inspirational, creative, encouraging, and thoughtful sermon every week is not easy! And it doesn't get easier with time either. After fourteen years in the parish it is still a challenge. I try not to repeat the stories that I use or recycle old sermons. Every week I draw on various life experiences as ways to explain the good news to the congregation. Reading has helped me tremendously. I read both wide and deep: novels, short stories, poetry, and some non-fiction. I read blog posts as well as the newspaper. Reading has helped my preaching and writing and the more that I read the better I become at both preaching and writing.

If you are a pastor and need inspiration for preaching than look no further. Cornelius Plantinga Jr has just written an excellent easy to read book about "reading" for preaching, hence its name Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013) 

This book is a must read for preachers. It is not really a how to manual but a series of thoughtful reflections on reading and literature. Basically Plantinga encourages preachers to read wide and deeply and to read all the time. Too often pastors are very busy, we have meetings, reports to write, sermons to prepare, parishioners to visit, and meetings to attend. Then of course they have their families to attend to as well as their own personal time. Many pastors complain that there is no time to read. However Plantinga says that even if you read five or six good books a year is better than nothing.

For more information about Reading for Preaching click here