by Robert Earl Houston
As an opening disclaimer and to be quite honest, I have been friends with H.B. Charles, Jr. for the past 15 years or so. H.B. (please forgive my informality) was the speaker for the San Diego City-Wide Revival for many years at the church I pastored for the Noon-Day session. We have managed to keep in touch down through the years and I have watched him ascend the crystal stairs of the preaching fraternity from Los Angeles to Jacksonville.
Now, having said all of that . . .
I believe that every preacher, ESPECIALLY YOUNG PREACHERS, should have this book in your library or on your tablet or on your smart phone. H.B. has penned what many of us who have been around could say are “cliff notes” for those who desire to not just preach, but preach effectively.
If you have no desire to excel as a preacher – this is not the book for you.
If you want to grab onto the newest fad in preacherdom – this is not the book for you.
If your desire is to “kill ’em” every Sunday with a whoop and no substance – this is not the book for you.
If you want people to call you “Doc” to your face and laugh at you behind your back – this is not the book for you.
This is a collection of practical, easy to read advice on how to construct a sermon – not the whoop, not the holler – but from the mindset of preaching, utilizing personal theological foundations, to the “why” and “what” a minister should pray before one syllable touches a piece of paper or on a computer screen.
H.B.’s passion for preaching is redundant throughout the book. He’s been preaching since he was a young teenager and he describes this not as a instructional map but as words from one traveler of the art of preaching to another. It is quite clear that H.B. does not want to remain the same in your preaching if it’s below par and he doesn’t want you satisfied if your preaching is above par.
A quote I found interesting:
“Your sermon manuscript will become stronger if you preach it as you write it. Talk it out as you are writing it down. This will help you communicate clearly and effectively. Some words that are easy to write are not easy to pronounce. That long sentence that looks so beautiful on your computer screen may be a nightmare to say or hear. And sometimes you cannot tell that an idea does not make sense until you hear the words come from out of your mouth. But talking your way through the sermon as you write it will aid clarity. Preaching it as you write it also aids memorization.”
It’s classic and practical preaching advice. It’s what the old preachers used to call a “nugget.” Unfortunately we live in a time when we have mega churches but pastors who either refuse or protest in sharing what they’ve learned along the way, especially about the craft of preaching. H.B. Charles, Jr.’s book breaks that paradigm in a refreshing way.
One thing you will learn from this book – the entire Bible is preachable. H.B. encourages you not to get in a rut and offers practical advice for vocal care. Much needed today.
Will this book help you? Yes, if you want it to. I’ll add this caveat – don’t let your ministry have more gators on your shelf than books in your library. Leaders read. Period. An investment is this book is well worth it. Many of us across the country are either implementing or planning to teach this book to our young associates. Pastors – consider doing so. However, all ministers need to get your hands on this book – if you are serious about the craft of preaching.Those who want to drown in shallow preaching waters need not apply.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.