Preaching that Connects. By Mark Galli and Craig Brian Larson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994- 159 pages. Paper, $10.99.
Modern preachers compete with journalists, novelists, and others for the attention of people. When listeners compare sermons to first-rate journalism, sermons may fare poorly. But sermons do not have to be second best, according to Mark Galli and Craig Brian Larson. Some of the same techniques used by journalists can also energize contemporary preaching.
Galli and Larson are qualified to write on the subject. Both have been pastors. Galli now edits Christian History and the Preaching Today monthly cassette. Both he and Larson are contributing editors for Leadership journal, where they have honed their journalistic skills.
Preaching that Connects offers practical, specific advice that can help preachers present the truth in a compelling way. Galli and Larson give examples frequently; they show exactly how outstanding preachers connect with their audience. Larson’s chapter on “Good Illustrations—and Great Ones,” for instance, reveals the little things that distinguish merely passable illustrations from memorable ones.
The authors address many aspects of sermon crafting: cultivating creativity, structuring the message, finding illustrations, telling stories well, managing forcefulness, pacing the message, beginning and finishing well. The first and last chapters go beyond technique, focusing on loving the hearers and “Preaching within Yourself—and Beyond.”
Preaching that Connects can be of benefit to experienced pastors and beginners alike. The authors have followed their own principles to produce a relevant, interesting, informative book— one that connects.