From the Editor:

Graduate Program

The Preaching Blues
Leading Change

Missions Commitment

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
(Edmund Burke)

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    Vol. 8, No. 15 April 14, 2009    
Michael Duduit

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of helping to create a brand-new graduate program for training a new generation of pastoral leaders. The Master of Ministry program at Anderson University (in Anderson, S.C.) will begin classes this August, both in a classroom approach and a fully online degree program.

I am so excited about this program because it represents an alternative model of ministry education, designed specifically to prepare leaders for 21st-century churches. Students will focus on the core competencies of pastoral ministry, going to school one night a week (on campus or online), and completing the full 42-hour degree in just two years. With an emphasis on leadership and communication, our goal is to equip church leaders for the real-life challenges they will face in building faithful and effective churches and ministries.

While I mostly have the joy of communicating with you each week about preaching and leadership issues, I wanted to take a “point of personal privilege” this week to invite you to learn more about the program by visiting www.auministry.com. Or if you prefer, drop me an e-mail, and I’ll send you more information. If you, a staff member or a leader in your church is ready for a solidly biblical, intensely practical graduate program for church leaders, I encourage you to take a look.

And now, back to preaching!

Michael Duduit, Editor

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelDuduit

There will not be an issue of Preaching Now next week.

On this week’s Preaching Podcast: David Allen is Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, where he also teaches preaching. On this podcast we visit with David about why expository preaching is vital and how he develops his own biblical messages.


In an article for Ministry Today, Chris Jackson writes about the “post-preaching blues” most of us have experienced:

“Sometimes I feel guilty for these feelings of discouragement. And when the next Sunday rolls around and I’m elated because I think I ‘hit it out of the park,’ I feel guilty again and wonder how pure my motives are after all. Either I have personal issues, or there’s an enemy that opposes us every time we take our stand behind our pulpits and lecterns. I believe it’s the latter and that we’re vulnerable to his assault for several reasons.

First, the ministry of preaching—whether confrontive, challenging or comforting in nature—is a declaration of war. We’re not delivering speeches; we’re striking a nerve with our culture, our listeners, the enemy who opposes them and, sometimes, with our own souls. A.W. Tozer said: ‘Our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum,’ and every time we issue that ultimatum, we step into a ring of fierce spiritual combat.

Second, preaching is a pure expression of who we are; therefore, the delivery of our sermons is a vulnerable, sensitive experience. Oh, I know, our identities shouldn’t be wrapped up in what we do. But as pastors, what we do is intrinsically linked to who we are. When we preach, we’re pouring out the essence of our identities, what we stand for and what we’re longing for in our lives. Consequently, any negative feedback or perceived rejection of the message can strike us at a deep level.

Third, most pastors aren’t content with base hits. When we preach, we want to hit home runs, and when we don’t–even if we’ve hit a solid grounder that lands us on first base–we become vulnerable to discouragement. Don’t forget that if a major-league baseball player got a hit (not to mention a home run) just 50 percent of the time, he’d be an unparalleled all-star and instant hall of famer. Granted, we’re not playing for a pennant–we’re contending for a crown and the hearts of our generation. But it’s still wise to remember that life is comprised of both the exhilarating and the mundane, and celebrating our base hits can bring tremendous peace and perspective. Most lives aren’t changed by one awesome sermon; they’re changed little by little as people consistently hear the Word over time.” (Click here to read the full article.)


In his classic text Leading Change, John Kotter offers insights into the mechanics of change. In particular, he explores the following eight fundamental qualities of successful change leadership.

1. Establish a sense of urgency. Wise leaders realize people have an aversion to change. Unless prodded to make adjustments, most people won’t budge from business as usual. Since leaders are likely the first ones to sense the need for change, they must convey a sense of urgency by convincingly identifying the threats of staying the same.

2. Gather a guiding coalition. Before making the case for change to the entire organization, a leader should persuade fellow influencers of its necessity. In every company, a small group of stakeholders lays claim to a majority of the influence. Unless a change agent rallies these key decision-makers to his side, he will have difficulty garnering enough momentum to shift the organization.

3. Create vision. Before launching a movement for change, it’s essential to formulate a compelling vision to support it. The vision should clearly spell out the rationale for making a change, and it should paint a picture of the preferred future that will arise as a result. The vision should be refined and simplified until it can be shared in five minutes or less.

4. Communicate vision. Human emotions tend to be drawn toward the discomfort and inconveniences of change. For this reason, it’s critical to make every effort to communicate the value of change. Leaders too readily fear repeating themselves when they should be more afraid of their people misinterpreting the vision or losing sight of it.

5. Empower others to act on the vision. First and foremost, build margin for change. People’s responsibilities continue in addition to their involvement in major change initiatives. Give them space to internalize the change and readjust their focus. Changing is a difficult endeavor. Be sure ample resources, meetings and man-hours are being devoted to make it happen.

6. Plan for and create short-term wins. Often the scale of a needed change can be overwhelming. Whittle it down into bite-sized bits, and be sure to celebrate every milestone accomplished. Build upon small, short-term victories to infuse the team with momentum so they can carry out the full extent of the desired changes.

7. Consolidate improvements to extend change. At first, changes are fragile. They need nourishment and protection in order to take root in the organization. Be vigilant of hard-fought changes, and recognize that many of them will take years to be fully ingrained in the organization.

8. Institutionalize new approaches. The best leaders know change is not a once-in-a-while proposition. The process of change is ongoing. When leaders manage change effectively, they gain respect and earn the right to craft a culture where change is a regular, even welcome, aspect of the organization.

(Adapted from “How to Lead Change,” by John Kotter, Leadership Wired, Issue 1, 9/08; via Church Leaders Intelligence Report, www.churchleaders.com.)


Would you like to invest a week and come away with your year’s preaching plan? Preaching magazine and Anderson University jointly are sponsoring the first Preaching Boot Camp, May 18-22, 2009, on the campus in Anderson, South Carolina. The focus of this year’s camp is on planning a preaching schedule, and the keynote speaker is Stephen Rummage, preaching pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte and author of the book Planning Your Preaching (Kregel). Other speakers will include Mike Glenn, Michael Duduit, Ryan Neal and more. Built into the schedule is time for participants to work on their own preaching plan for 2009-2010. To learn more, visit www.preachingbootcamp.com.


In a recent “Breakpoint” commentary, Chuck Colson observed, “You don’t have to look far to find cause for worry today. As jobs disappear, as our retirement plans shrivel, anxiety is knitting brows everywhere–including, at times, my own.

“Part of our worry comes from the fact that most Americans aren’t used to it! We’ve had relatively little to worry about in life. Sure, these are hard times, but this is not the Great Depression. And while the nightly news gives us cause to bemoan the loss of moral absolutes in society, Christians have always found themselves–and will always find themselves–living in the midst of a depraved culture.

“But no matter how dark a place or an age in time, God has never allowed the light of the church to be extinguished. Plagues, persecutions, poverty–Christians have lived victoriously in the midst of it all.

“How? They had something we’ve lost: a Christian ethic of hope.

“Sadly, people have either trivialized or politicized the word hope. The American Heritage Dictionary defines hope as ‘the feeling that … events will turn out for the best.’

“But a Christian hope isn’t a feeling, and it’s not wishful thinking. Hope comes from the CERTAINTY of God’s promises. These are promises like Romans 8:28: ‘God works in all things for the good of those who love him.’ Promises like Acts 16:31: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.’ Promises abound for us about future realities. God has promised believers that Christ will come again, will redeem our bodies, will make us holy, will let us share in His glory and will give us eternal life. This isn’t simple optimism. And it isn’t hope pinned to a fallible human leader. This is a firm hope in the Creator.”


When Hudson Taylor arrived in Shanghai, China, in 1854, the city was under attack from rebels. The Chinese regarded Westerners as “foreign devils” and did not allow them into the interior of the country. Taylor had failed to finish medical training, knew no Chinese and was the first missionary in a new, non-denominational society. Undeterred, he studied the language and culture and defied the government by taking the gospel inland. He also adopted Chinese dress and customs so more people would listen to his message. Before he died, Hudson Taylor had succeeded in spreading the gospel into many unreached areas of China! (Today in the Word, June 2007)

From the May-June issue of Preaching …

In an article titled “Preaching Matters,” Greg Hollifield writes: “One might assume that in the present carefully coiffed, camera-ready age, people would view every messenger suspiciously and be less inclined to be swayed by him. Consider as a case in point that field of candidates who were recently vying for election to our nation’s ‘bully pulpit.’ They employed staffs of people to assist in their persuasive efforts. We know this, and one would think such knowledge would cause us to look beyond their carefully scripted and rehearsed speeches before casting our votes. CBS News correspondent and political analyst Jeff Greenfield would have us think again. He recently asked, ‘Today, in a time of Web casts and podcasts, when the media assault us with billions of bits and bytes, could it be that this oldest of political weapons–the spoken word–is still the most powerful? [He then answers his own question.] Yes.’

“Wisconsin professor Stephen Lucas noted that people thought radio would kill the effectiveness of the presidential speech, but it did not. Next, people thought television would kill oratory, but it also failed. Today, experts question whether the Internet will do the job. Lucas proceeded to suggest that none of these media either have or will destroy the place of political oratory because ‘there is no substitute for face-to-face communication between a speaker and audience.’

“Phillips Brooks in his 1877 Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale University famously defined preaching as ‘truth through personality.’ One hundred years later, Haddon Robinson defined expository preaching in his seminal work Biblical Preaching as the ‘communication of a biblical concept, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through him to his hearers.’ In both definitions, one of preaching generally and the other of a particular kind of preaching, the message is paramount and the messenger essential.”

Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles on preaching, plus great model sermons and practical resources. If you’re not a current subscriber to Preaching magazine, click here (or call, toll free, 1-800-527-5226) to go begin your subscription!


Also in the May-June issue of Preaching: The Teaching Pool, The Power of Multi-sensory Preaching, plus sermons by Charles Stanley and much more. Order your subscription today!

Recent news reports have contained frequent references to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, sponsored by the Pew Forum. If you’d like to go straight to the source to survey the extensive data, here’s the link.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” (Anne Frank)

Weddings and funerals are staples of the pastor’s schedule, and it’s always helpful to find new resources in this area. The Pastor’s Wedding Planner (Beacon Hill Press) by Stan Toler offers a variety of resources for counseling, vows and messages. This is one of those books you’re likely to keep on using until death do you part.


In How to Argue Like Jesus (Crossway), Joe Carter and John Coleman describe the rhetorical strategies and methods used by Jesus and make the case that we should learn to persuade in our own day using the approach of the greatest communicator of all time.



The Power of Vision (Regal) by George Barna is becoming a classic resource for pastors and leaders. This new edition continues and extends Barna’s effort to offer practical tools for “capturing, casting and implementing God’s vision for your ministry.” This one belongs on every pastor’s bookshelf.

(Click on the title to learn more or order from Amazon.)


A group of senior citizens was sitting around talking about their ailments.

“My arms are so weak I can hardly hold this cup of coffee,” said one.

“Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can’t even see my coffee,” replied another.

“It has gotten to where I cannot hear anything anymore,” said one in the loudest voice of the group.

“I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck,” said a fourth, to which several nodded weakly in agreement.

“My blood pressure pills make me dizzy,” claimed another.

Finally one man summed it up for the group: “I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old. But thank the Lord we can all still drive!”



A day without sunshine is like night.

First things first, but not necessarily in that order.

Old age comes at a bad time.

In America, anyone can be President. That’s one of the risks you take.

Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

The more you complain, the longer God makes you live.

IRS: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.

Hard work has a future pay-off. Laziness pays off now.

Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.

Hang up and drive.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather … not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Smile, it’s the second-best thing you can do with your lips.

I took an IQ test, and the results were negative.

Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

A Cheyenne, Wyo., family learned the hard way that their daughter was sending lots of text messages when a bill for nearly $5,000 arrived.

In just one month, Dena Christofferson, 13, sent 10,000 text messages and received about the same–all while her family’s cell phone plan did not include texting. As a result, they were charged for each incoming and outgoing text.

The girl’s parents thought texting had been disabled, so they were shocked to receive a monthly phone bill for $4,756.25.

“It just hit us like a rock, like you’re stepping into a bus,” Gregg Christoffersen said.

Racking up the bill involved sending more than 300 texts within each eight-hour school day, every day, for the whole month.

“She went from As and Bs one semester to Fs in two months,” Dena’s dad said.

Dena’s phone didn’t survive long after the bill arrived. Dad took a hammer to it, and Dena has been grounded until the end of the school year.

“I felt really bad, and I have learned my lesson,” Dena said with her head down.

Just a little late, unfortunately.

(Good news: The family says Verizon has been willing to knock it down to a reasonable level.)

(From KUSA-TV Web site. Click here to read the whole story.)

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