One of the most interesting and practical preaching books I’ve seen in some time is Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators (Group) by Dave Stone. Dave, who shares preaching responsibilities with Bob Russell at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, has identified 13 communication styles that characterize preachers. He cites the Creative Storyteller, Direct Spokesperson, Scholarly Analytic, Revolutionary Leader, Engaging Humorist, Convincing Apologist, Inspiring Orator, Practical Applicator, Persuasive Motivator, Passionate Teacher, Relevant Illustrator, Cultural Prophet and Unorthodox Artist.

The strengths and weaknesses of each style are discussed, with some great insights for preachers who are exploring their own style. Dave includes an interview with well-known preacher who represent each of the various styles. Some of the interviewees include Max Lucado, Bob Russell, Franklin Graham, Kirbyjon Caldwell and several others. Erwin McManus, who leads the Mosaic church in Los Angeles, is the example of the Revolutionary Leader. Among his observations:

“When I preach, I want to take you through an experience that you not only see but also feel as though you’re a part of it…For me, that is what preaching is all about. It’s literally about pulling people into an experience with God where they are translated into His presence and don’t even know it’s happened.”

Talking about how he preaches, McManus says, “I observe the world around me and try and see how the particular passage connects to reality. Then I try to flesh out that passage and see how my life would be different if I really believed it. I talk about Scripture being a portal that takes you into the presence of God.”

The book includes a CD that allows you to listen to samples of almost all of the communication styles discussed. Refining Your Style is a fascinating and enjoyable read that will be helpful to any pastor seeking to better communicate in today’s culture.

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