When I was in seminary, I was assigned Power in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix in my first preaching class. It proved to be immensely beneficial to me and to other students like me at the time. The limitation of the book is that its target audience was to preaching students new to the art of public proclamation. Yet a decade later, I am still growing in my preaching and have been looking for books that would guide me even further.
Fortunately, those same authors have recently published a sequel for more seasoned preachers guiding them to grow in their preaching in their book Progress in the Pulpit: How to Grow in Your Preaching. For the most part, the authors accomplish their goal, yet for those looking for specifics on how to better tweak their preaching, they might be disappointed.
First, the authors provide a helpful text on preaching that is helpful to both young and seasoned preachers. They guide us on applying our hermeneutics to preaching, planning our preaching, how to do invitations, and how to receive sermon evaluation. The insights here are great and are well worth taking in.
Yet when I cracked the spine, I was anticipating a text guiding me on how to better fine tune my preaching. The opening paragraph quoted above even gives this impression. Preachers fall into a rut and do feel like they do the same thing each week without variety. Every preacher feels their preaching needs improvement and I was looking for a book from seasoned veterans that provided practical ways to grow and improve our preaching. Though there was some of that, it was largely missing.
Nevertheless, I found this to be a helpful book that will serve to be a great tool for seasoned preachers. Its premise remains an important one: preachers should continue to grow in their preaching. Shaddix and Vines offer a good tool in helping us in that direction.
This book was given to me for free for the purpose of this review.