A Little Book for New Preachers: Why and How to Study Homiletics
By Matthew D. Kim
A Little Book for New Preachers, to be released January 2020, actually is for anyone with any level of experience preaching and/or who is interested in preaching. As such, it is a good entré into the calling and work of preaching.
Matthew Kim is an associate professor of preaching and ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was mentored by Scott M. Gibson, a preaching professor and the director of the Doctor of Philosophy in Preaching program at Truett Theological Seminary.
At just over 100 pages, A Little Book for New Preachers is a primer on preaching rather than a full exposition of the nuts and bolts of preaching.
The book is laid out much like a sermon. It has three parts, and the chapters read like sermons with a set of points, alliteration and key phrasing. Just reading the book is an exercise in studying a style of preaching. For example, preaching is at once a great burden, a great joy and a great legacy. The weight of the subject matter and the fact of representing God leads to all three.
Kim considers typical reasons prospective preachers might fear preaching, such as a fear of public speaking and thin skin. He contends that preaching is sought after by churchgoers and brings together higher profile theological disciplines.
As further reason for preaching, Kim asserts that preaching is discipleship inasmuch as it leads people––including the preacher––to obedience to God’s word and to being more Christlike.
Kim gets to the meat of preaching in Chapter Four by surveying foundational questions for a true interpretation of Scripture, which brings together the historical and contemporary contexts, and suggests a five-part process of biblical interpretation for sermon creation. Kim also addresses the role of culture in sermon delivery.
In Chapter Six, he provides a helpful matrix for application, which he sees as the culmination of preaching—in opposition to the likes of Fred Craddock, who thought listeners should be left to determine application for themselves.
Kim rounds out A Little Book for New Preachers in Part Three by turning to the person of the preacher, calling preachers to cultivate a pastoral sensibility and character. The preacher needs to have a healthy sense of self, especially given American culture’s penchant for celebritizing those up front.
Kim concludes with a three-part call to prayer, the center of which is the Holy Spirit. Preaching should be empowered by the Holy Spirit, which may mean there are both too many and not enough preachers preaching.