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Preaching for Revitalization: How to revitalise your church through your pulpit Paperback – May 20, 2006
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Preaching for Revitalization is a long overdue guide to reverse the slide of the Church into spiritual slumber. (James C. Bland ~ Coordinator, Mission to North America Presbyterian Church in America)
"He takes us into the heart experiences of those who hear the revitalising Word, and humbly describes the congregation of trinity Church 'Often people weep during the sermons. Some have lingered long after the services in a spirit of prayer. And still others have been moved to confession of sin and to seek counselling for help in troubled areas of their lives' Others have left the church! Ten of the twenty chapters in this thoroughly commendable book refer to Christological, ecclesiastical, missiological, doctrinal, and ethical themes, with a strong appeal for preaching with deliberate balance. But the first step in revitalisation is said to be a discovery of Christ and what he has done. Then the flame of love for him which burns in the heart of the preacher will ignite the church with similar devotion. According to this book there is real hope for dying churches. This much needed news is worth reading" (Timothy Alford, Stowmarket, Grace Magazine, January 2007)
'Not many books on church revitalization these days see preaching as crucial, at least not expository preaching. So it is both a relief and blessing to listen to wise, tested counsel from a minister of the Word who has put his method into practice...' (Ligon Duncan ~ Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary)
'...both readable and extremely helpful. Michael wonderfully affirms Biblical preaching and does not allow cultural fads to diminish our confidence in God's promise to save men and women through the "foolishness of preaching," he does point out the appropriate ways to connect to the culture without being conformed by it.' (Harry L. Reeder ~ Pastor of Preaching & Leadership, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama)
'A clarion call on the need for biblical preaching by a seasoned and effective preacher designed to encourage preachers to preach better, to God's glory and with a view to seeing the Holy Spirit pour forth blessing. I highly recommend it as vital reading for every preacher.' (Derek Thomas ~ Senior Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina)
'This excellent book argues that church revitalization can never take place and be maintained unless it is the product of vital expository preaching. As evangelicals, have we lost confidence in pulpits, preachers and preaching, reducing the proclamation of the living Word of God to mere explanation? The bottom line is that the revitalizing of the Church necessitates first a revitalization of preaching. We either heed the call or drift.' (Robin Sydserff ~ Minister, Chalmers Church, Edinburgh)
About the Author
Mike Ross is Senior Pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Ross proposes the following outline to accomplish church revitalization which also serves to divide the book into four parts:
1) Certain priorities of revitalizing preaching that will positively affect the interest shown by others toward a minister's preaching can be deduced from Reformation and Puritan preaching.
2) A certain content to revitalizing preaching that will positively affect the growth experienced from one's preaching can be deduced from Reformation and Puritan preaching.
3) Certain characteristics of revitalizing preaching that will positively affect the ethos of one's preaching can be deduced from Reformation and Puritan preaching.
4) A certain style of revitalizing preaching that will positively affect the impact of one's preaching can be deduced from Reformation and Puritan preaching.
In part one the centrality of the Word of God and preaching is the focus. If the preaching of the Word of God is not central in a church then that church has shown what it thinks about the sufficiency of Scripture to revitalize a church. As Ross rightly states, "when the Scripture is no longer supreme in authority, the sermon is no longer pre-eminent in liturgy; an soon sacramental priorities replace preaching. These 'sacramental' replacements may not just be penance, the eucharist or liturgies to Mary and the saints, but may also include drama, liturgical dance, overemphasis on music and other innovations in worship revealing a lack of confidence in Scripture and a low view of preaching."
In part two Ross helps the reader to see the proper balance in preaching between five types of preaching he discusses: 1) Christological Preaching, 2) Ecclesiastical Preaching, 3) Missiological Preaching, 4) Doctrinal Preaching, and 5) Ethical Preaching. In each chapter Ross explains what each type of preaching is and why it is necessary and shows the focus on these types of preaching in Reformation and Puritan thought. Part three examines four characteristics of Puritan and Reformed preaching: 1) Spiritual 2) Romantic 3) Controversial and 4) Camaraderie. Part four focuses on expository preaching as the best type of preaching and then examines its historical roots before examining method and process. As someone who enjoys reflecting on Reformation and Puritan thought I was greatly encouraged by the connections that Ross made to these eras and church revitalization. This book would be a blessing and helpful read for all pastors, not just those trying to revitalize a dying church.
I received a copy of this book from Christian Focus in exchange for an honest review.