Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Required Resources For “Simplify The Message & Multiply The Impact”

As a lot of you know, the Western North Carolina United Methodists invited me to lead a monthly preaching workshop (technically called a “cohort”) for sixteen emerging and established pastors in our area.

I am both excited about and energized by the assignment.  You can read more about it here.

As you note on the hyperlink, I have five required resources for the “students.”  I want to share them here, as well as my rationale for including these disparate media in a glorified homiletics class.

1.Communicating For A Change, by Andy Stanley.  In my own journey from pointless to multi-point and ultimately to one point (or is that ‘pointed’?) sermons, Stanley’s text set the standard.  He provides a rationale, a model, and more than enough anecdotes to make the reading both breezy and transformational.

2.The Collected Sermons Of Fred CraddockProving my Methodist bona fides?  Maybe.  Exposing people to a resource that’s a treasure?  Certainly.  Craddock was a long time preaching professor at Emory University’s Candler School Of Theology, and gave new meaning to practicing what he preached.  His sermons are witty, poignant, and priceless.  Very different from Andy Stanley … and yet much the same.

3. Crash Test Dummies. What self-respecting teacher of anything doesn’t put his own book into the syllabus?  I’m certainly not going to buck that trend.


4. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett.  I get many of my best sermon ideas and insights by reading great novels.  They teach me not only how to write but, more importantly, give unparalleled access into what makes people tick and what makes families disintegrate.  Patchett’s novels are gorgeous, and her most recent effort, Commonwealth, is accessible, autobiographical, and preachable.

5. Southeastern, by Jason Isbell.  Why would I assign a music album for a preaching class?  Especially one with some language that’s … colorful?  Simple: if you can preach a sermon like Jason Isbell writes a song, you will proclaim the Gospel in way that truly penetrates heart, mind, and soul.  Isbell locates his music at the intersection of recovery and poetry, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist have a better eye for detail.