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on May 18, 2004
LaRue has brought together a broad well-balanced spectrum of preaching experience. His introduction briefly explores the history of black preaching and then presents eleven characteristic similarities of method of the twelve preachers he invited into his project. Two of these characteristics that jumped off the pages of the contributor's essays were the importance of wrestling with the text and discipline and perspective. Wrestling with the text was invariably the first activity mentioned, most reading in the original language and several translations. LaRue mentions the "invitation to the listening congregation to enter into the world of the text being a defining feature of traditional black preaching." Discipline and perspective are key experiences shared by each contributor. The discipline of organizing their lives to give adequate and thoughtful time to preparation was emphasized. "All recognized they had to study in order to remain fresh, vibrant, interesting, creative and faithful." Each also pointed out the need for rest and avocation.
In each chapter, a pastor or preacher first reflects with essay or interview on their preaching life. Inevitably, for those who have pastoral duties it presents a helpful glimpse into the daily life of pastoring. Many of them had a day of the week devoted to sermon writing and several of them had agreements with their congregation that this time was sacred. Some of them found late night inspiration and some early morning. Most of them worked daily on some aspect of sermon preparation. Each prepared a manuscript but never used them in their delivery. There is a natural movement from text to presentation and no anxiety was expressed about forgetting something in the manuscript. Contributor Gardner C. Taylor reflects, "I would remember my starting point, where I was going, and where I would conclude. I followed those thoughts in my mind. Now I would lose a lot of material which I thought was wonderful but perhaps it wasn't. Maybe it needed to be lost. But I also picked up material I had no notion about when I was preparing the sermon. This new material would come in the actual preaching of the sermon."
The book is comprehensive and well-presented. All the contributors were helpful with example and reflection on the task at hand. It was with eager and excited anticipation that I picked up this book. Black preaching can be all of those things mentioned earlier: fresh, vibrant, interesting and creative. My one caution is that something was lost in the printed word, lost in translation. It might have been more helpful to actually have a transcript of an actual preached sermon rather than a manuscript. I do recommend the book, particularly for those who may be seeking to re-examine their sermon preparation method; it was excellent in this regard.
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on June 29, 2005
I have read fifteen books on preaching in the first six months of 2005. Having read them, if I could choose just one that helped me most as a preacher, it is this text. We hear from some of the best Black preachers in America - how they preach and a sample sermon of each. You sit at the feet of masters.

I am a minister - white - who gained tremendously from these giants in our pulpits.
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on April 14, 2004
Power In The Pulpit is a must read for any pastor, seminary student or lay speaker. Cleophus J. Larue highlights some of the best women and men preachers in the African American preaching Community. These people of faith boldly bring the reader into the most intimate acts of their personal worship: sermon preparation. Each preacher shares their weekly routine and the hours upon hours that she/he spends in preparing to preach the word to their congregations. These processes are so detailed that the reader experiences the sermon development along with the preacher. After laboring with each preacher, the actual sermon text then follows for the reader to enjoy the final manuscript. The only thing missing from this book would be the impossible--the hearing of the word in the actual congregations. If you want to be an excellent preacher instead of a good preacher, read Power In The Pulpit!
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on November 8, 2006
Purchased the text for a course in our district school of ministry. Only a small percentage of us young (new) preachers have the opportunity or a ability to sit at the feet of preachers of this caliber. Fewer still can glean from their earnest sharing of their preparation from kernel to message. This book is not the cold technical manual of some other preaching texts but,don't miss the power found in the details of preparation and delivery. There is a sharing of this human experience and the wrestling with God to minister a word that is from him in due season. Rev. William D.Watley wrote, "In my experience,most sermons, while having the Holy Spirit as their ultimate source, come to us as seed or as spark or as sperm in the midst of our own work and warfare,struggles and strife,agony and anxieties,experiences and ecstasies,fallings and risings,stumbling and recoveries,and require some participation and input from us to produce a finished product." I only wish that for a few more dollars there was also a CD to hear the printed messages since preaching in general,and black preaching in particular, is an aural experience
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on March 10, 2004
This is an awesome book dedicated to God's great gift of Black preaching. It includes interviews with great Black preachers who discuss their unique ways in preparing to preach the word. It's like being able to pull up a chair and sit next to them over coffee as they prepare. It even includes a sermon by each; I just wish that they were in audio form so that we could hear them! This book is a great tool to show beginning preachers like me how you must work with God to develop your own personal preaching style. Too many of us don't properly prepare and try to mimic preaching styles?!? The world is in too much trouble for us to deliver a fake unprepared Word!
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on April 2, 2013
Dr. LaRue was a professor at seminary while I was there. I heard him preach but unfortunately never wound up in any of his classes. This is a fabulous book---as I am 'white' and come from a 'white church background' (whatever that means) it was helpful to me in the diverse setting I find myself in as a resource to improve my own preaching--to help me think about rhythm and style and repetition.
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on April 3, 2004
This book pulls together advice from some of Americas foremost African American preachers. Each one has a style of her/his own when working with the word of God developing sermons. They share their own methods which can be useful to anyone who is preaching.
For a new preacher such as myself, some of their ways of engaging Scripture is helpful. Their methods are not elaborate, but in depth. I found it particularly insightful reading Prathia L. Hall's contribution around Mark 5:21-43. It is encouraging to find that a passage has the potential to stimulate more than one sermon and continue to develop.
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on August 30, 2014
The effective Black preachers have different theological thoughts, but their styles is helpful for ones to embrace. However we can't be like them, but their preaching styles is helpful for ones to try. We have to be ourselves when we preach, and then someone may want to model us. Preparation of sermon material is a lot of work. Much is given much is required.
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on March 25, 2013
Power in the Pulpit is one of the most informative and entertaining books that I have read recently.It is a little bit hard to read in some spots,because of the big words that are used.However,that should be seen as a oppotunity to improve your vocabulary by learning some new words.The book gives you a lot of tools that can be used in sermon preparation,and is useful in saving you from the agony of discovering on Saturday night that you are not prepared to preach the next day.
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on January 20, 2009
Have you ever wondered how great preachers and speakers constructed and delivered powerful messages on a regular, consistent basis? If so, read Power in the Pulpit: How America's Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare Their Sermons. This is a reflection of some of the most powerful African American preachers. Their reflections include the mechanics and delivery of great sermons along with their spiritual and personal preparation. Very interesting and enlightening.
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