I remember a preaching professor, Dr Cleo Larue, closing class by saying
‘Next week is reading week. So for God’s sake read.’
Another mentor told me upon graduating that the best advice he could give me was to subscribe to the New York Times.
It’s some of the best writing available out there and it will teach you how to write better sermons, he said.
No doubt you’ve heard similar advice given to you from others, but I’ll repeat because these ten years have born it out for me:
What you preach, how you preach, how well you prepare to preach, the ideas that come to you to preach etc – it all hangs on you reading.
Read as much as you can as often you can as diversely as you can.
There’s nothing more depressing (to God too I would wager) than a preacher who hasn’t read anything but Max Lucado since he or she left seminary.
For God’s sake, read. Your preaching will be blessed for it.
Some Suggested Reads
Some of you have responded to previous posts by asking for suggestions on reading.
Fully aware there is no shortage of preaching texts and even more aware that our reading tastes mirror our own idiosyncrasies, I nevertheless offer you some texts that have sit on my shelves with dog-eared pages, inky notes and not a little sweat pored over them.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Ron Carlson Writes a Story by Ron Carlson
The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch
Discovering a Sermon by Robert Dykstra
The Heart of Black Preaching by Cleophus Larue
The Gottingen Dogmatics by Karl Barth
The Undoing of Death by Fleming Rutledge