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Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers Paperback – November 18, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Many things will help raise the standard of preaching around the world, but one of the most significant--and underrated--is the need for good models. Simon Vibert provides compelling examples of what constitutes good preaching, not that we emulate superstars, but that we learn from the dynamic interplay of the Word, the Spirit, the congregation and the rich variety of human personality. This is an illuminating read for preachers and listeners alike, and I warmly commend it." (Jonathan Lamb, director of Langham Preaching, Langham Partnership International, and chair, Keswick Convention)

"Simon Vibert studies some of today's most effective preachers and shows us what makes their preaching so powerful. These elements, interestingly, aren't always immediately apparent. Yes, preaching is a performance art, 'truth through personality,' but Vibert identifies elements that are transferable from these marquee pulpiteers to the rest of us. Excellence in Preaching gives us 'ears to hear' what we wouldn't have heard otherwise." (Marshall Shelley, editor in chief, Leadership Journal, and vice president, Christianity Today)

"With great insight and evenhandedness, Simon Vibert looks at twelve well-known preachers, culling from their sermons the one thing that they do best. By the time he finishes his survey of the twelve communicators, Vibert has fashioned a compelling case for what great biblical preaching looks and sounds like. We all long for more powerful, engaging and effective preaching in our churches. This book goes a long way in helping us reach that goal. As someone who has been preaching for almost seventeen years, I discovered that my views on preaching were both confirmed and challenged by reflecting on Excellence in Preaching. I am grateful Simon took the time to write this book." (Jim Belcher, author of Deep Church)

"This is an imaginative and encouraging book, demonstrating how the best of the best of preachers actually do it. Fresh, stimulating and constantly challenging, it made me want to start preparing a sermon immediately! I can't imagine any preacher not being inspired to pick up the task with new courage and at the same time to give thanks for the privilege." (John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford)

"Simon Vibert serves us well in this book. First, he recovers a passion and vision about preaching the Bible at a time when some recommend doing away with preaching. Second, his survey of what good preachers do gives us some timely advice and suggestions. Third, he himself models a willingness to learn from other preachers. He's been a preacher for many years but still sees the need to listen, learn and work at his preaching! For these reasons and more, I hope young preachers and experienced preachers alike will read this book to gain a passion and vision for preaching the Bible, to strive to do their task well and to be humble learners and listeners themselves." (Rev. Dr. Gavin McGrath, senior associate minister, Dundonald Church, London)

"Simon Vibert offers a fresh and very helpful resource for preachers. He takes twelve effective modern preachers and analyzes their strengths in order to improve standards in our churches. Highly recommended." (Michael Green, Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics)

About the Author

Reverend Dr. Simon Vibert is vice principal and director of the School of Preaching at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He previously served as chairman of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit and has two decades of experience in parish ministry. As one of John Stott’s Langham Trainers, Vibert has equipped pastors in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Serbia and Haiti. He studied at Oak Hill College in London, Glasgow University in Scotland and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, where his thesis was on the preaching of John Piper. He is the author of Lives Jesus Changed and The Diamond Marriage.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (November 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780830838158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838158
  • ASIN: 0830838155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 10 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I was in elementary school and just beginning to get my feet wet in the world of books my favorite books typically related to sports. In those early years I gravitated towards books listing the top 10 shortstops, hitters in baseball, NFL rushers, hoop stars, etc. I liked these books because they would assist my 4'3 fifth grade frame become a professional athlete. Now some 20 years later I have long given up my dreams of filling stadiums for the sole purpose of marveling at my athletic prowess. But could God ever use this preacher to fill an athletic stadium and provide the opportunity for gospel preaching? And would I be assisted by a book listing the top 12 (plus the obligatory Jesus chapter) preachers of our day?

Simon Vibert's Excellence in Preaching is written with the hopes that looking at these twelve men will help

"preachers and their listening congregations have a better sense of why it is that some preachers connect hearers with God, inspiring, encouraging and motivating them to authentic Christian living, and enabling them to leave with a sense that through the preaching they have indeed met with the living Lord." (13)

Vibert looks at the preaching ministry of Jesus and then twelve contemporary preachers: Tim Keller, John Piper, Vaughan Roberts, Simon Ponsonby, J. John, David Cook, John Ortberg, Nicky Gumbel, Rico Tice, Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, and Mark Dever. In each chapter Vibert looks at a couple of sermons and tries to discover "What makes ______ a good communicator". He then closes up every chapter with a few bulleted points of application for preachers.


There is a positive and helpful aspect to this book and also one that could be relatively dangerous and unhelpful.
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Everyone should always be looking to improve themselves. This book is a great tool for pastors to use to improve themselves. It is ok reading for non pastors buy I think lay people could get more growth from other books.
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Vibbert does a great job of breaking down the sermons and the styles of each of the different preachers in the book. I appreciate that he chose a variety of preachers, although he could have highlighted some others from outside of the reformed tradition. I especially liked the lessons for preachers at the end of each chapter. These lists alone are worth the price of the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
enjoyed this book tremendously. great insight to the character and personality of preaching styles and methods. great insight to the effectiveness of our Lord's words. gives a great sense that many of our great pastors know and understand their flock and how the word of God can effectively bring life to those in need.
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