Fortress Press has launched a new series they’re calling “Working Preacher Books.” Walter Brueggemann launched the series with Preaching from the Old Testament: a pithy summation of a lifetime of careful attention to the Old Testament with the faith that in its pages preachers and congregations can still hear a living word today. The second entry is Leading with the Sermon: Preaching as Leadership which will be released on February 4 but is available for pre-order now. In anticipation of the launch, excerpts will be posted here. This first excerpt is from the first chapter:
Here’s how God suggested I provocatively open this book:
Preaching is the most important task of an ordained leader.
Preaching is at the center of pastoral work not only because in preaching a pastor is with more members of the congregation, in a more intentional and focused way, than in any other pastoral activity, making the pastor’s unique role visibly, definitively evident. Proclamation is at the center because of who God is and what God is up to. We know the truth about God only because of the proclamation of the one true preacher, Jesus.
The pastor who pleads, “Though I’m not much of a preacher, I am a loving, caring pastor,” is lying. There’s no way to care for God’s people as pastor without loving them enough to tell them the truth about God, what God is up to in the world, and how they can hitch on.
Christianity is a “revealed religion”; it happens when humanity is confronted by a loquacious God. We are unable to think about a Trinitarian God on our own. The truth about God must be revealed, spoken to us as the gift of a God who refuses to be vague or coy. It is of the nature of the Trinity to be communicative, revelatory—the Father speaking to the Son, the Son mutually interacting with the Father, all in the power of the Holy Spirit, God speaking to God’s world.Leading with the Sermon, p. 2
Keep an eye out for more passages in the days to come! I enjoyed the book quite a bit and think many pastors will find it a welcome and distinctively Christian relief from the platitudinous drivel so often marketed as “leadership” advice. You’ll also find plenty of examples herein from Will’s sermons demonstrating the principles of homiletical leadership for which he argues.
Editor’s Note: As Will’s minion, I’ve been updating his blog in his name for some time, among other tasks he throws my way. For the sake of transparency and truth in advertising, let it be known that I will be authoring the posts and administering the website going forward with announcements about what he’s working on and releasing (unless otherwise stated).
— Carsten Bryant, Senior Master of Divinity Candidate, Duke Divinity School