Book Review: One Year to Better Preaching by Daniel Overdorf

A recent presenter said that only 5 out of 100 pastors read a book on preaching once they get out of seminary. I try to read one every year, and One Year to Better Preaching by Daniel Overdorf is a great read for this year.

Overdorf provides 52 short chapters that provide exercises to hone one’s preaching skills. In the art and craft of preaching developing such skills is essential to move beyond cranking one out each week to connecting with the flow of the Holy Spirit to speak through one’s personality, giftedness and growth. Overdorf even includes 7 bonus exercises.

Yet the great gift of this book in skill development is how it provides bite size opportunities to sharpen the saw. The exercises are to be used weekly or monthly. You can pick and choose over a variety of areas from prayer prep to Biblical interpretation to understanding listeners to the crafting of a message to its delivery and to the scariest part — evaluation.

Not only does Overdorf give good insight, he also provides abundant additional insight. Each chapter features input from people who have tried the exercise . Their insight gave another pair of eyes to see the exercise and the impact it could make. For me this helped move each chapter from homiletical theory to preaching practice.

In addition Overdorf includes resources for further study, including an online web linked resource to a number of the articles that you can explore here.

Some of my favorite exercises dealt with Balance Your Biblical Diet to Write in E-prime. The Biblical diet balance was to look at what texts you’ve preached in the past few years, while e-prime helped with crafting words that get to the point than lose people in the journey. My least favorite was to Critique a Video of Yourself, a necessary exercise, but a scary one!

I give One Year to Better Preaching 5 out of 5 stars. Such books are vital to hone one’s preaching and public communication skills. What a great resource for every pastor and for that wise group of pastors that call out the best in each other to bring the best each week to the message God gives them to share.

My thanks to Kregel for publishing such a great resource and providing a free copy to review. I was not required to give a positive review just an honest one.

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