Convention breakfasts are usually way too early after a long day and before another. But one of the perks is that you can often get some cool swag from them. Hat tip to Southern Seminary for including this little gem in their giveaway for the SBTS breakfast at the Florida Baptist Convention last fall!
During my time as a student at Southern, I was so fortunate to have a few classes with Dr. Pennington and see his passion and devotion to the Word impact students for more faithful ministry. Reading this book was almost like being transported back to New Testament survey and seeing the combination of scholarship, worship, and some good learned British wit all brought back. Thanks for putting this together to help us be better in the pulpit.
I would recommend this book to any of you in pastoral ministry, no matter where you are in your ministry journey. Sometimes I fear that education and experience give us a sense of teflon where we forget that we need to circle back around to elementary principles time and time again. As Pennington says about our own need for evaluation and growth, entropy is the default rather than growth. So we have to be intentional. Intentionality in preaching begins with our own preparation and our own spiritual growth and engagement in preaching. Only once we have been enwrapped in the text and been changed by it can we even begin the creative process of crafting the outline (or manuscript) that we use on Sunday.
Two things that particularly jumped out to me:
1. Encaustic Preaching - Gosh this essay was so good. Our job in preaching isn't to every Sunday have to recreate the Sistine Chapel, but to add a new layer to the canvas before us in God's people. Every week we're adding something more to the work of God, one more layer that makes the people before us more like Christ, one more color in the beautiful work of redemption, and one more step closer to the finished product. Preaching and shaping the image of Christ in others is the long view, it's a journey of decades one Sunday and one message at a time.
2. The First and Last Minute - The art of homiletics is often like flying a plane. The tricky parts are the takeoff and the landing. Everything else is cruising. My friends who are pilots may not agree, but be kind in the comments. For most of us, especially those who have given years of study in seminary and have a bent towards the academic, exegesis and theological analysis and explanation are pretty natural. For us, they're cruising altitude. And our default can be to want to get to that point without doing the work of takeoff, and we can want to get done so quickly from our exegesis and analysis that we crash instead of landing the plane. The first and last minutes of our preaching are, for better or worse, what will stand out in people's memory, so let's commit to making sure they are done with excellence, clarity, and will help take our people to Jesus.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.