52 Ways to Preach Better

Scot McKnight is one of the bloggers I read regularly, and a few days ago he posted a wonderful piece titled, "Preaching Better--Practice and Exercises." It is a review of Daniel Overdorf’s One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills.

The fifty-two exercises Overdorf suggests are right on the money. A few, of course, are things I have done for years in my preaching and speaking. Others I have fairly harped on to friends and colleagues. Some I have developed recently. And, I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear, a number are practices I want to learn more about or plan to incorporate asap&awap (as soon as possible and as well as possible). Want to know what they are? Of course you do. Here is the list McKnight posted:

1. Commission a Sermon Prayer Group
2. Balance Your Biblical Diet
3. Speak to Three Listening Styles
4. Remember the Fundamentals
5. Seek Illustrations at Home
6. Show, Don’t Tell
7. Read the Text Well
8. Have Listeners Evaluate You
9. Listen to a Storyteller
10. Tell a Story
11. People Watch
12. Polish Your Thesis
13. Utilize the Five Senses
14. Exegete Before Sermonizing
15. Develop Need in the Introduction
16. Assemble a Feed-Forward Group
17. Write in E-Prime
18. Plan for Effective Delivery
19. Collaborate With Other Preachers
20. Apply Specifically
21. Preach with Women in Mind
22. Pray for Your Listeners
23. Assemble a Feedback Group
24. Minimize Notes
25. Talk to an Artist
26. Try a Different Sermon Form
27. Explore the Original Context
28. Hang the Sermon on an Image
29. Expand Your Multicultural Awareness
30. Design Careful Transitions
31. Encourage Texting During Your Sermon
32. Assign Biographies to Children
33. Craft Evocative Words
34. Consider the Text’s Literary Form
35. Include Immediate Application
36. Teach Preaching to High Schoolers
37. Analyze a Movie
38. Swap Pulpits
39. Illustrate with Video
40. Conduct E-Interviews
41. Go to Work with a Church Member
42. Employ Purposeful Humor
43. Preach in Dialogue
44. Pray Through Your Sermon
45. Make a Bee-Line to the Cross
46. Illustrate Specifically
47. Land Smoothly in the Conclusion
48. Interweave Preaching and Worship
49. Write for the Ear
50. Preach with Men in Mind
51. Read Fiction
52. Critique a Video of Yourself

Every pastor or preacher must pray and work to get better. And Overdorf's book (as well as McKnight's blog, for that matter) promises to be a giant step--or fifty-two of them--in the right direction.

What about you? Do any of these intrigue you? Challenge you? Inspire you? Or reflect your practice? Please comment and let me know.

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