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Planning Your Preaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Developing a One-Year Preaching Calendar Paperback – December 3, 2002
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From the Back Cover
“I have discovered that there is only one thing worse than sitting at your desk on Monday not knowing what to preach Sunday, and that’s sitting at your desk on Saturday not knowing what to preach Sunday!”
This practical book by an experienced pastor and preaching professor provides the solution to this all-too-common pastoral dilemma—and clearly shows the busy pastor how to move beyond week-to-week sermon preparation into long-term planning for a truly effective pulpit ministry. Planning Your Preaching helps every pastor address areas of special need within the congregation, ensure regular preaching on key doctrines, incorporate holidays, and integrate biblical themes into the ongoing education of the congregation. An indispensable resource, Planning Your Preaching offers a field-tested, easily adaptable method for developing a comprehensive preaching ministry.
“Rummage’s work . . . addresses one of the more neglected areas in the field of homiletics. In addition to its practical value for preaching practitioners, homileticians will welcome such a resource for use in the classroom.”
—Dr. Jim Shaddix
Associate Professor of Preaching
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
“Rummage is the perfect person to write this book. He is a gifted preacher and by virtue of his pastoral experience he understands the struggles of pastors. He has produced a work that will be practical and helpful because his system of developing a plan works in the real world.”
—Drs. Bobby H. Welch and David W. Fleming
Co-pastors, First Baptist Church
Daytona Beach, Florida
Stephen Nelson Rummage is associate professor of preaching and director of the doctor of ministry program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. A member of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, he has served for ten years as a pastor and an interim pastor.
About the Author
Stephen Nelson Rummage is Preaching Pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the author of Planning Your Preaching and a contributor to The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching.
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Top customer reviews
Rummage includes chapters on the ordinances, special days and preaching through the Christian lectionary. There are also a number of worksheets designed to help with planning. Everything that a pastor needs to plan a year's worth of preaching is here.
The strength of this book is its comprehensiveness. Rummage has given us a thorough treatment of this topic, looking at it from virtually every angle. As far as I am aware, it is the only book-length treatment of the why and how of preaching calendars.
As a longtime proponent of preaching calendars, I appreciated the author's emphasis upon the consistent, faithful exposition of God's Word over time rather than striving for the ever-elusive oratorical masterpiece. One great sermon does not define one's preaching, nor does the occasional clunker. Rather, we must strive for excellence week after week, which will add up to something worthwhile over a lifetime of preaching.
The book has some weaknesses, however. First, it is longer than it needs to be. There were several times when the content felt "padded." This was perhaps most evident in the chapter on the ordinances, where Rummage went into detail about the biblical/theological underpinnings of baptism and communion. For those who are already well-versed in those things, that chapter is a bit tedious. Call me pragmatic, but I wanted him to cut to the chase and to discuss implications for the preaching calendar. This critique applies to other sections as well. The book could have been reduced in size by perhaps a third, and it would have been stronger for it.
A second weakness of the book is its dependence on other authors. Rummage regularly cites great preachers and homileticians, and many of the best ideas are theirs. Other quotes could have been omitted without much loss in meaning or value.
A third weakness of the book is its traditional, Southern Baptist orientation. The author assumes that his readers preach three times each week: Sunday morning, Sunday evening and at the Wednesday "prayer meeting." He also assumes that the church's worship is fairly traditional. This limited the book's usefulness for me, since I only preach once per week, and the setting is more contemporary. Nevertheless, I was still able to apply much of it to my setting.
I recommend this book for those preachers who are unfamiliar with the idea of a preaching calendar or who could use a tune-up on putting one together. It has everything you need to practice this important discipline. You will not be sorry.
This week/weekend I have been working on putting together a preaching calendar for the remainder of this year. While what I preach from week to week is definitely not set in stone-and the Spirit usually has a way of redirecting my path-it is definitely a stress reliever to have a plan. A plan that is flexible enough to allow for freedom, but organized enough to give meaning, purpose and help. Before I even met Dr. Rummage I was already a convert to the expository method. My problem in expository preaching, however, is that without putting together a plan, I can't see the forest (big picture) for the trees (the details). That's where this book comes in. It gives the unorganized a little organization. It also gives direction to different Scriptural texts that are appropriate for different holidays and special emphases.
Though it has been a while since I've seen him in person, Dr. Rummage's contribution in Planning Your Preaching is one that I've read, re-read, lent out, and given away. If you're a preacher, or you know one, you should buy this book.
Where he really shines is in laying out how the annual plan should be laid out. The directions are concise and logical. His suggestions for topics that should be covered annually is also well founded.
He does give some ideas for various things to cover on an annual basis that involves some level of doctrinal sensitivity. While he freely admits his background and does his best to cover things in a sensitive manner for the benefit of people who may not believe as he does, from time to time his own doctrinal positions come to the forefront.
He is a big advocate of expository preaching and so spends a good amount of time advocating that position. As it happens, I also like expository preaching, even if I tend to get bogged down doing a lot of topical work. But, if you feel strongly that topical preaching is on the same plane or even superior to expository preaching then this book may not be for you.
All in all, I think that this is a good resource and one that I'm happy to finally have in my (Kindle) library.