Pray, plan, prepare, preach — establishing and maintaining priorities in the preaching ministry
Iain D. Campbell
128 pages, £6.00
This is a truly excellent book for preachers and hearers. Its emphasis should be of deep concern for all preachers. The introduction indicates what follows: ‘Every time the gospel is preached, God’s mind and will are being revealed’.
The book lays down relevant positive and negative biblical requirements for God-commissioned preachers, that they be male and moral, and do not ‘joke their way through sermons’. We are told that ‘preaching that is most biblical, Christ exalting and other-worldly will also be most contemporaneous and relevant’.
The first chapter gives a series of extracts from the excellent book, The days of the fathers in Ross-shire, showing the eminent spirituality of those men of the nineteenth century, the power of their ministries, and the use the Holy Spirit made of their ‘words in season’ to their hearers.
The second chapter, on the preacher’s prayers, quotes from Thomas Boston’s book, The art of man-fishing, to stress what all true preachers surely must know: ‘Christ was much in prayer, and that before he preached (Luke 9:18), follow him in this, O my soul. Thou hast much need to pray before thou preachest’.
The third chapter is on planning a sermon. One of its many forceful comments is this: ‘To preach Christ from all the Scriptures is no easy task, but it is our calling, and it is what will bring our people back to church again and again’.
The author makes interesting comments on expository and textual preaching, and gives encouragement for expository, textual preaching using the examples of C. H. Spurgeon and Kenneth Macrae.
Chapter 4, on preparation, stresses that preaching must be expository, theological, logical, practical, solemn and powerful. A few useful hints are given as to the preacher’s lifestyle.
The last chapter concentrates on the practice and experience of preaching as an ambassador, herald and witness. In these days when ‘dressing down’ seems to be being made essential for a preacher’s relevance, it is good to have a warning lest our appearance gives the impression ‘that our business is slight, shallow and of little consequence’.
There is a relevant warning on the use of humour in the pulpit. This is a short book, but full of relevant comment, forceful and helpful instruction, encouragement and godly application. It is most warmly recommended.
P. M. Rowell