Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2005.
Paper, 152 pages. ISBN 083-412-2111.
One of the great challenges facing the typical pastor is finding ways to continue
to strengthen one’s own preaching skills while embroiled in the day to day demands
of pastoral ministry. Bob Allen’s new book Sermon CPR throws a lifeline to such
pastors, and offers solid assistance in evaluating and improving your preaching.
Allen, a former pastor and Bible college professor, has packed a treasury of
evaluative tools into this helpful volume. He emphasizes the importance of self-evaluation
in preaching, then offers us a book packed with practical tools that can be
used to better understand how we preach, along with useful ideas for improvement.
Recognizing the critical factor of delivery in preaching – and the reality that
most preaching books focus on preparation and offer little solid help in presentation
– Allen deals with a host of issues, both verbal and visual. Even preachers
who have been at the task for many years will find a variety of useful tools
to help analyze our own strengths and weaknesses.
The bibliography is dated – the latest book listed is from 1997, so Allen misses
a decade of outstanding resources – but that is a small slip in an otherwise
valuable resource for pastors. Wise pastors recognize that in today’s culture,
a mediocre presentation means that even the best presentation will be hard-pressed
to find an audience. Allen offers practical help in making sure that our messages
are characterized by excellence, not mediocrity.