This was a book recommended to me at our last church planter's meeting by Jonathan McIntosh of The Journey. We had discussed preaching at that meeting and this was a book that he recommended to the planters that were there.
For the most part, the book lived up to its billing. However, it is definitely a practicioner's book. Chapell does a good job of walking through developing a Christ centered redemptive sermon.
At times, and I think the content warrants this, it gets a bit methodical and plodding. I found myself feeling like I was re-reading the same parts of the book over and over and over. For those who have never preached, or like myself who have preached a little but now see that becoming a much more consuming piece of life, this is a good book to lay the foundation and the fundamentals of practice before stepping onto the platform on Sunday mornings.
The book is broken into three parts:
- Principles For Expository Preaching
- Preparation Of Expository Sermons
- A Theology Of Christ-Centered messages
It's almost 400 pages long including appendices, bibliography, and indexes so it's not necessarily the quickest read in the world. The bibliography is great and gives reference to more books that should time and money warrant, I would love to read.
Overall, I would say for anyone who is looking at planting a church, starting to preach on a regular basis, or feels like their preaching ministry is somehow off kilter, this would be a good book to put on the shelf and to make a reference.
I'll end with a quote:
When preachers perceive the power that the Word holds, confidence in their calling grows even as pride in their performance withers. We need not fear our ineffictiveness when we speak truths God has empowered to perform his purposes. At the same time, acting as though our talents are responsible for spiritual change is like a messenger claiming credit for ending a war simply because he delivered the peace documents. The messenger has a noble task to perform, but he jeopardizes his mission and belittles the true victor with claims of personal achievement. Credit, honor, and glory for preaching's effects belong to Christ alone because his Word alone saves and transforms.