I had heard from several pastors that one of the best preaching books ever written was written by a guy who has never been a pastor. The name of the book is Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln by James Humes.
As a fan of preaching and history, this was a perfect match for me.
Humes, a former presidential speechwriter looks at leaders throughout history like Churchill, Lincoln, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Bill Clinton and others. He looks at everything from dress, pauses, stats, closings, openings and body language.
While the book was great, translating it to preaching was a little difficult at times because it was written primarily for CEO’s and politicians.
What did stick out to me for pastors was the things that only a lead pastor can do for the church. Only the lead pastor can call people to the overall vision (while others on staff can do this, the lead pastor will gain the most ground because he is driving the bus), only the lead pastor can call people to sacrificially give to the mission and every time a lead pastor speaks (whether in a sermon, a counseling session or a meeting), he is casting vision.
Here are a few things that jumped out to me:
- The difference between so-so and superb speakers is often this: One begins banally, the other with a bang.
- Leadership sometimes means surprising your audience.
- Good communication spells the difference between a leader and a manager.
- Speech is theater.
Here is what I would say if you are a communicator in a church or a leader, read this book. I got so many ideas for preaching on how I formulate the big idea, use stats and stories. The list goes on and on. Definitely a 5 star book.