This is a post about a pair of books I was given in exchange for posting this review. No money changed hands and no requirement, besides which week I post this, is given for the review. The books were graciously sent to me by Kregel Publishers.
This week, I have taken a look through a pair of books from Kregel Publishers. These two books are a matched set, though they are not totally dependent on each other. Both are from R. Larry Moyer and both focus on preaching evangelistic sermons.
The first is titled Show Me How to Preach Evangelistic Sermons. This volume is exactly what it claims to be: a practical manual on how to construct sermons to communicate the Gospel. Moyer presents 27 short chapters that start with an explanation of the why of preaching what he calls "expository evangelistic sermons" and then into the nuts and bolts of how to do so.
The "why" section was good, when placed into an appropriate context. I think that too many churches are trying to do too much with the average sermon, expecting that sermon to reach the lost, strengthen the weak, and challenge the strong. Moyer has a good point that reach the lost is the key point to make in many sermons, it just seems to me that too many of the weak and strong believers will quickly dismiss the more blatant evangelistic message that he advocates. Making the sole focus of the message to communicate the need for salvation will put the bulk of typical church listeners into a habit of 'checking-out' and not listening for the ways they may need to grow.
That is not to say that the evangelistic message should not be a portion of every planned or spontaneous sermon. It should. However, occasionally sermons need to reach past that particular doctrine and deal with additional matters. Certainly when speaking in a context that the preacher knows will hold an unsaved audience will Moyer's sermon structure work well.
Of greater benefit to me, though possibly because I'm kind of set in my preaching ways, were his chapters on explaining Christian lingo in sermons and on methods of structuring an invitation. The first of these sections, such as the one on explaining sin, are almost always of benefit to those of us who have been in church more than a year. It is too easy to get used to the language of church and forget how to communicate those concepts.
The area on invitations was also helpful. Currently in Baptist life, there is much discussion of the traditional "altar call" invitation. Some have abandoned that method but have not found an adequate replacement. Moyer provides several options and suggests being sensitive to the situation where you are preaching. It is nice to see a passionate evangelist endorse breaking the altar call tradition.
While I do not feel that this book tells everything you need to know about preaching, it is a good add-on to your "how-to" shelf for preaching.
The second book is Show Me How To Illustrate Evangelistic Sermons. Sermon illustration is something I struggle with, and it's all the harder to admit that because I know the best sermons I've preached are the ones that I found illustrations that really worked with the topic.
So, I found this text more helpful than the first one mentioned in this post. Moyer has broken down illustrations based on topic and purpose and put them into various chapters for easy reference. He has even noted which ones are intended to be humorous, which can be a helpful quick look!
I would actually recommend Show Me How to Illustrate Evangelistic Sermons above the other volume, though both are helpful.
As always, yes, I got the books for free. Yes, I was positive in my review—of course, I asked for these books because I expected to like them, so that's that. I occasionally review books from Kregel Publishers as well as other publishers. Check my outdated Disclosures! post for more info.