Dear fellow Senior Pastor,
Almost two decades ago I was finishing my Master of Divinity degree and thinking about my future.
I felt very confident about my theology and my ability to study and understand the Biblical text. I felt pretty good about my ability to put together a biblical, expository message that explained the text of scripture clearly. I had less confidence, however, about my ability to apply many texts of scripture to my own life without wandering into error. When I thought about applying the Word to a congregation of believers, I shuddered.
Then I heard that Haddon Robinson was leading a Doctor of Ministry program focused on Biblical Preaching. He's the guy who literally wrote the book on Biblical Preaching. His book was recommended by every professor of preaching I had ever had and by most pastors I knew, too.
I started to study Robinson's work more closely. I re-read his book. I got my hands on some audio tapes (this was the late 90's, boys) of his preaching. I even "happened" to see a message he delivered on David and Bathsheba on cable TV one night when I was working a side job at a hotel.
I've heard some great preaching before, but I had never heard someone preach the way Haddon Robinson did. He arrested my attention and drew me into the message like no one I'd ever encountered. He explained the text with crystal clarity and then shined the light of it directly into my soul. It didn't matter if he was preaching from the Old or New Testament or if his message was from Paul's epistles or a narrative from the Gospels. His preaching impacted me. Every. Single. Time.
I knew I had to apply to his Doctor of Ministry program.
There was only 1 problem--I didn't qualify. The D.Min. program was designed for people who had a Master's of Divinity degree and had been in full-time ministry for at least 3 years.
I was still working on my Master of Divinity. So I didn't qualify.
I had been in full-time ministry for just over 3 years, but it was a seminary staff position, not a preaching position. So, I didn't think I would qualify there, either.
Still..., I applied. I expected to be rejected. I felt like I was wasting money on the application fee--hundreds of dollars that we needed as a young couple. But my wife was very supportive and, honestly, I didn't want to see Robinson retire and regret that I didn't even try to get into his course.
Well..., against my expectations, I got in! And the three years I spent earning that degree changed my life in several ways. Now, I want to pass on some of that to you.
Your college and seminary homiletics classes were helpful to you, I'm sure. I know you learned some important lessons that have strengthened your preaching ministry.
But, the chances are very good that your homiletics instructor has never led a congregation as the Senior Pastor, preaching weekly to the same group of people over many years.
It's also possible that your homiletics professor studied something else instead of homiletics--New Testament, Theology, Church History, or something else. He may have been capable at the exegetical aspects of sermon development, but not so well-equipped for structuring and delivering a biblical sermon.
Or, maybe he had a bunch of speech training but knew very little about exegesis.
Very possibly, his homiletics professor was trained in New Testament or something else besides homiletics.
Did your homiletics professor know the difference between an inductive and a deductive message? Did he tell you the strengths and weaknesses of each of these? Did you learn when each type is most appropriate? Have you ever even heard of the "semi-inductive" sermon type?
What about applying the Bible--did you learn any principles about how to do that anywhere along the way in your academic preparation?
If you've been preaching every Sunday for a while, I'm sure you've figured some things out that you didn't learn in seminary.
But maybe you've also realized that you could still learn a thing or two. Maybe you could use a more step-by-step approach to preparing each week. Maybe you are ready to try some different sermon structures. Maybe applying the Bible is a tough task for your preaching.
I can help. I have studied with the master of biblical preaching. I have worked out the principles he taught me in my weekly preaching ministry. I've been preaching in the same church for nearly 10 years now. I have preached expositionally through the Gospel of John, the book of Hebrews, Ephesians, Genesis (yep, the whole thing), Philemon, Colossians, Philippians, 1 Timothy, Titus, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude, 2 Timothy, and through half of the Gospel of Luke. I'm working my way through Luke right now, in fact.
I can teach you some things that will help your ministry immediately. In this two day conference you will learn:
- how to plan your preaching calendar each year
- the difference betweent the exegetical big idea and the sermon's big idea.
- how the exegetical and sermon big idea relate to each other but why they must be developed separately and are distinct.
- how to apply the Bible meaningfully and biblically to your congregation every single Sunday.
- how to develop a process that you follow each week with daily benchmarks for developing the message so that you are never caught looking for a Saturday Night Special.
Come join me for this two day conference, January 11-12. The price I am charging is less than I spent on my application fee for Robinson's course. It is far less than you or I spent for one credit hour of seminary classwork. And, I'll offer you a money-back guarantee. Does any seminary on earth offer that?