It takes more than a good speaker to preach. It takes a Spirit-filled person. In The Heart of the Preacher, Rick Reed focuses on the personal heart preparation required before any preacher is ready to preach. In this interview, we ask him about his experience teaching prospective preachers and how it inspired him to write his new book.
Lexham Press: What was the inspiration behind this book?
Rick Reed: In the process of teaching homiletics to seminary students, I came to the conclusion that I needed to do more than teach them how to prepare and present sermons. I needed to help them prepare their souls to proclaim God’s Word. I needed to help them face the heart-level tests that come to us as preachers. These tests, though commonly experienced by preachers, are not commonly addressed in preaching books or homiletics courses. The writing I did for the students in my homiletics courses became the basis for the book.
LP: Do you think that the preacher’s character and health is often neglected? If so, why do you think this happens?
RR: There are many good books for ministry leaders on Christian character and spiritual health. What’s harder to find are resources dealing specifically with the character challenges faced by preachers Why is this case? Perhaps because some of these challenges are awkward to acknowledge—like ambition, comparison, laziness, and stagnation.
LP: If a preacher has the right tools and uses the right method of sermon preparation and delivery, what difference does their heart make?
RR: Excellence in sermon preparation and delivery are essential; they are just not enough. The condition and character of a preacher’s heart plays a big part in the spiritual impact of the preacher’s sermon. Since God’s tests the heart (1 Thess. 2:4), we must be concerned with our heart preparation not just our sermon preparation.
LP: Is there something about preaching that is particularly dangerous for the preacher?
RR: As with any form of public ministry, a big danger faced by preachers is becoming a poseur—having a public image that does not match our inner reality. The only way to avoid this danger is to follow the admonition of Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
LP: Who do you hope will read this book and what do you hope they will take away from it?
RR: My prayer is that preachers and teachers will read the book and have their hearts stretched and strengthened so they can better serve Christ’s Church as they proclaim God’s Word.