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The 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching - Second Edition Hardcover – July 1, 2006
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McDill bases this work on twelve essential skills to help preachers provide more and better content in their sermons. Other authors have presented various works with a variety of numbered steps, but McDill presents a solid case for his method. McDill records his observation that while God calls His preachers, preachers have the responsibility to develop specific skills through "discipline, hard work, and a commitment to clear thinking and Bible-based sermons." The authors writes that this particular book was designed with a format of self-improvement, further stating that it is a do-it-yourself approach which will preachers concentrate on their own respective skills, at their own pace, and in the areas they see need to be strengthened.
McDill's written purpose for writing this book consists of identifying and strengthening the specific skills needed for more effective sermon preparation. It is easily determined that the author is successful. By focusing on the content of the sermon, he succeeds in providing a volume that deserves a place on every pastor's bookshelf. One of the greatest assets to this work is found in its step-by-step layout. It is very user-friendly. Within the pages of the book, McDill provides a series of worksheets which can be easily reproduced for the preacher to maintain. The worksheets provide an organized method by which preachers can file sermon work on each text.
One of the greatest and most powerful sections of the book helps preachers to develop illustrations. If the preparer follows the categorical structure of the natural analogies and illustration section, he has an idiot proof method for producing illustrations which match his personality rather than borrowing from others and pounding square pegs into round holes. A natural analogy takes a relationship, circumstance, event, or other factor in the natural realm and parallels it with a theological concept. McDill notes that an incarnational principle must guide us today as we seek, through preaching, to be channels of God's ongoing revelation. He rightly notes that we must look for analogies that will help our hearers understand the idea and are grounded in our respective arenas of life. This skill is vital in connecting with audiences and is the same style of preaching that Jesus often used with parables, which took a common situation, event, or person's position and used it to instill a heavenly truth.
After reading this work, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a manual on sermon preparation. The book can prove useful for laypersons and senior ministers alike. I use this work on a weekly basis. I also use it to strengthen my weaker areas.