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Preaching Without Notes Paperback – January 1, 2001

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About the Author

Professor of Communication Studies, Gardner-Webb University
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687090881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687090884
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Frantz on March 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book outlines how to prepare sermons with a very simple technique. There are no short cuts or tricks; it simply approaches sermon preparation from a different angle. The main thesis of the book is that you should never use written notes when delivering your sermon. Dr. Webb explains in full why this is necessary, but basically you communicate better with people when you are looking at them (which is impossible to do completely when you are referring to notes).
Since you wonÕt be using written notes in the pulpit, you need to deliver a different kind of sermon. There shouldnÕt be (cannot be) a complicated outline or a manuscript with finely crafted paragraphs. Instead you will simply talk with your congregation, relating a series of stories, events, ideas. Preparing a sermon that you can remember is a wonderfully liberating experience.
I took a class from Dr. Webb at the Northwest House of Theological Studies in Salem, Oregon while he was a faculty member at Claremont School of Theology. That has forever changed the way I preach, and the people in my church react well to the new kind of sermon. There is still a lot of preparation, but now you can be more effective.
A wonderful little book that is a must for any preacher. Give it a try.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Webb's basic thesis is that the best preaching is done without notes. He then precedes to give an example of how he puts his sermons together week after week. Webb attempts to prove that preaching without notes is more valuable in general because it allows a greater connection to the audience and it frees the preacher to be passionate. Then after defending the approach, Webb describes the approach in a day by day approach.

Monday-Tuesday - Planning. During this time the preacher should determine what the text says and take extensive notes. He suggests a kind of extensive outlining. This is solely to determine what the text says. This is a pretty traditional component, and I would suggest other resources to fill in this component. For example, Paul Scott Wilson in "The Practice of Preaching" provides a much more detailed approach to determine what the text says. Another approach is Brad Braxton in "Preaching Paul." Braxton handles in outline form the steps to take in exegeting the passage. Both of these appraoches do more than tell you to look at the passage, but tell you what you are looking for in the text.

Webb believes that the difference between preaching without notes and with notes is that this component should be more detailed. I think that Wilson or Braxton can help the preacher ask questions of the text which is an important component of preaching.

Wednesday: Create Outline: Here the preacher creates an initial outline and evaluates the outline. Also, the preacher gives a preliminary title to the message and creates a controlling metaphor. During this step, the preacher determines what the sermon is about and splits it up into what he calls "sequences" and others call "moves.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gunia VINE VOICE on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Joseph Webb, a Professor of Speech and Homiletics, has written a very practical book for preachers seeking to free themselves from the manuscript. In Seminary, one of my homiletics professors would have us preach in front of the class without any notes and I've preached in front of congregations without a manuscript, so I come to this book with a little--very little--experience in preparing and delivering a note-less sermon.

I found this book very helpful because Webb kept the routine of the parish preacher in mind throughout the book. As and example, his chapters are subdivided into days of the week (Chapter 1 is subtitled "Monday and Tuesday"). I also appreciated the encouraging tone of the book. It always had the underlying message, "you can do it! I know you can!" However, while Webb strives to encourage the reader/preacher throughout the book, he also realistic in pointing out common mistakes, pitfalls, or new skills to be learned. A secondary message is that preaching without notes will be difficult at first, but will be easier as time goes on and new skills are aquired.

The parts of the book I found most helpful are the sections on "outlining" a sermon and actual sermon delivery. The special attention to "chunks" of memorized information and natural transitions between "chunks" is helping me to write more natural sounding sermons. The chapter on delivering sermons witnout notes provide a helpful list of do's and don'ts. Happily, Webb also covers pre-delivery jitters and post-delivery blues, which some preachers may still imagine are unnatural for veterans of the pulpit.

I normally try to list a couple aspects of the book that I dislike about the book, but it was pretty difficult with "Preaching Without Notes.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jenna on March 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a seminary professor in homiletics. It provides a feasible and helpful proposal for how to prepare a sermon without notes OR an outline. Preaching without notes is a fear of mine. This book has changed my attitude and has empowered me to begin preparing my sermons without a manuscript. Webb not only informs about how to prepare, but he also provides mind-boggling facts about memory retention that everyone should know. It's worth reading and is a quick read (130 pgs.)
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