Preaching is hard work. When I first felt called to ministry, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never preached a sermon in my life. I never had a mentor walk me through the process. In fact, I was scared to death of public speaking. So I argued with god. I begged him to let me do anything but preach. The thought of having to preach in front of a crowd every single week terrified me. But god didn't relent. I went to a Bible college. I thought, "Surely, Bible college will teach me how to preach!" I applied myself. I graduated with honors with a ministry degree. But sadly, I was only forced to preach two times in the entire four years I was there. Since I was scared, I didn't go out of my way to seek preaching opportunities like I should have.
Suddenly, I found myself in my first job as a youth pastor. I immediately had to preach at least once a week. Panic! Bible college did not prepare me for this. What should I do? My first attempts at sermons (if you could even call it that) were horrendous. I stood in front of my notes, shaking while reading the message word for word. This is not what I got into ministry to do! I needed to get better. So I hit the books. I read every book on preaching I could get my hands on. The books were all right but mostly theoretical. So I asked a lot of pastors a lot of questions and started listening to as many good preachers as I could find. Finally, I started getting some practical advice. Slowly, I began to get better with each message.
This little book is the kind of resource I wish I had way back when I felt the call to ministry. There were good books on preaching, but most lacked the practical tips I needed. I knew why I preached and what to preach. What I didn't know was how to preach. I needed short, practical tips to get me started in the right direction.