Dying to Preach by Steven W. Smith
Given its size, Dying to Preach should not be a difficult book. But it is somewhat difficult. Part of the difficulty comes from its subject matter. While some authors and preachers have tried to make preaching light or fun or easy, it is not. It is serious and it is hard. Some of the difficulty comes from the style of the book. While I am sure Smith has been a pastor and is a preacher, he is also a professor. And he is an accomplished member of the faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The book is written less like I think a pastor/preacher would write it and more like a professor would. Please do not take that as a negative comment, especially about the content. It is not. The content is exceptional. Exceptional.
The main point of Dying to Preach is that to be an effective preacher, the preacher must die to self. Like so many preachers and authors have written, Smith believes that the text, the Gospel, and the cross must be central to the message. He states and illustrates that the preacher cannot do these things effectively if he is not willing to die to self so that the listeners might find life in the message of the cross.
I agree completely with Smith’s conclusions. While Smith’s writing reads like a seminary lecture, underneath that veneer, his points are quite practical. Overall, I would recommend this book for any preacher. It is not as comprehensive as some other texts on preaching, but this is intentional. He chose not to deal with style or delivery. He does a good job of sticking to his message. If you want a more comprehensive text on preaching, I would recommend Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”