A Little Handbook for Preachers

A Little Handbook for Preachers

Basic information

  • Published: May 1, 2016
  • Publisher: IVP Books
  • Page count: 208
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A Little Handbook for Preachers

No function of the pastor is as visible and stress inducing as preaching. Being a good preacher requires learning the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical skills needed to effectively share God's word with a congregation. It demands a commitment to the craft of preaching. But few pastors feel adequately prepared for this high-stakes responsibility when they begin their ministries.

Mary Hulst knows what it takes to preach well. Forged by her experiences as a pastor, preaching professor and college chaplain, she recognizes the challenges of the pulpit. In this uniquely practical book, Hulst provides foundational concepts and tips that all pastors can use, whether they are ministry newcomers or seasoned professionals. Preaching can bring both you and your congregation great joy and satisfaction, week after week. And A Little Handbook for Preachers can help you deliver a better sermon


"Mary Hulst writes with great authority and verve. Her writing is balanced and mature but also fresh. I can't imagine a preacher who would not be blessed by her work." (Cornelius Plantinga Jr., author of Reading for Preaching)

"Three words came to mind as I read this book: honest, practical and personal. Honest because this little gem of a book reminds those of us who have been preaching a while as well as those new to preaching that we can improve our preaching. Many of us will find ourselves in the stories she shares about preaching gone wrong. Practical because Mary doesn't just tell us that we could be doing better, she shares with us how we can improve. She guides us through small steps that will yield big dividends. And Personal because, as someone who knows Mary, preaching matters to her and she is good at it. I can hear her voice as I read through the pages. The words on these pages are from a person who cares deeply about the Word and who cares about those who proclaim it. This book is a must-have for anyone who proclaims the gospel." (Michelle R. Loyd-Paige, Dean of Multi-Cultural Affairs, Calvin College and president of Preach Sista!)

"Mary Hulst has the rare gift of not only being an extremely effective preacher, but also an extremely effective teacher of preaching. One particular virtue of this book is the way that it integrates excellence in biblical exegesis, theological interpretation, pastoral discernment, communication skills and interpersonal intelligence into one seamless vision. As a result, the book helps us envision how the highest ideals for ministry can be practiced in a realistic and sustainable way of life. This book promises to inspire both rookie and veteran preachers for seasons of vital and faithful ministry." (John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary)

"There are multitudes of thick, heavy books on the theology and philosophy of preaching. There are multitudes of preachers trying to get into their pulpit with a sermon every week. In this book, Mary Hulst has distilled theology and philosophy into a field guide for active-duty preachers. Relatively new preachers will find courage and thoughtful answers to the questions no one bothered to ask or answer in seminary (where do I hook my mic pack if I'm wearing a dress?). Seasoned preachers will find a fresh take on their work and encouragement to try something new or to return to their first love?telling the old, old story again and again." (Meg Jenista, pastor, Washington, DC Christian Reformed Church)

"A Little Handbook for Preachers is an outstanding resource for those called to preach the gospel today. Much like the author and her sermons, the book is clear, insightful and inspired. Mary S. Hulst provides the essential principles for biblical preaching and offers practical and poignant advice on how to prepare a sermon that connects with the changing landscape of listeners in our churches today." (Josiah Chung, pastor, Living Water CRC, Grand Rapids, MI)

"A wholly approachable and practical guide for those who take the call to preach seriously. Mary does not leave us full of shame for not preparing 'her way' but instead offers us a wealth of information, examples, stories and suggestions to encourage us to dig for the ways God will meet us as we go about the task of preaching. With each chapter, Mary reminds us of our own capacity for creativity and the possibility for connection?with God and those who will be moved by our words." (Austin Channing Brown, writer and speaker)

"Mary Hulst presents an elegant and compelling vision of preaching as a vehicle of the gospel. For students taking this vehicle for their first test drive she offers an owner's manual; for experienced proclaimers who want to maximize their vehicles' performance she offers an important checklist. Her guiding principles help ensure that preaching excels in doing what God designs it to do? to nurture faithful, transformed lives." (Paul Scott Wilson, professor of homiletics, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto)

About the author

Mary S. Hulst (PhD, University of Illinois) is the college chaplain and a member of the faculty at Calvin College where she preaches weekly at campus services. She previously served as a professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary and as senior pastor of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband Andrew Kromminga.

Mark Labberton is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He previously served as Lloyd John Ogilvie chair for preaching and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute for Preaching. Labberton came to Fuller after sixteen years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California. He has served as chair of John Stott Ministries (now Langham Partnership) and co-chair of the John Stott Ministries Global Initiative Fund. Today he continues to contribute to the mission of the global church as a senior fellow of International Justice Mission. He is the author of The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor and The Dangerous Act of Worship.



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