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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Simple Preaching Prep by Mark Messmore is a non-fiction theological self-help guide for those who may have been called to service to lead a flock, but feel they could use “A Guide to Finish Your First Sermon and Flourish Beyond." Over the course of six distinct and interconnected chapters, Messmore provides his own model, taking the shape of an hourglass by using the acronym INSIDE, whichever a reader finds easiest to grasp. The model is sectioned into six steps: Interview the Text, Narrow the Focus, State the Main Idea, Include Supporting Material, Deliver the Message. and Evaluate the Result. Each step is covered in its own independent chapter.
I am not a preacher, nor am I an individual who is likely to ever be asked to preach. I doubt my mega-church even knows who I am as a single congregant. That said, Mark Messmore and his book Simple Preaching Prep was still a great deal of help when I needed it for an important legal argument. As I would imagine my uncle, a Baptist minister, might have stared at a blank sheet when he first began preaching, so too did I when a compelling statement needed to be made. The most helpful to me was narrowing the focus. Without this book, my “legal sermon” would have fallen into the word-soup category and my message would have been lost in a bowl of unnecessary side-arguments. As a layperson, I really loved the scriptural context and the sound advice will undoubtedly help anyone writing their first sermon. Very highly recommended.