Highly Recommended. Byron Forrest Yawn is Senior Pastor of Community Bible Church in Nashville, TN where he resides with his wife Robin and their three children. Byron is a graduate of Mississippi College and The Master’s Seminary.
In an area of Christian literature that is well-stocked and seemingly over-crowded at times, Byron Yawn not only presents a book that is up-to-par but actually brings insight to the subject of preaching. Make no mistake, this book was written for a very specific demographic: the preacher. More specifically, the preacher who is stumped or slumping or plateauing in his growth as a speaker or teacher of God’s most precious word. Yawn—despite his name—will restore a preachers excitement, not only for preaching on Sundays, but for exegesis and the personal growth that comes only from a relationship with God that is foundational to sermon preparation. He takes the reader through three main characteristics that define effective preaching: clarity, simplicity, and passion; Yawn then selects well-respected preachers who embody each characteristic and explains what each person aims for in their preaching and why. The structure and form of this book is both engaging and clear, in fact, the book itself embodies the three characteristics it seeks to teach about. It is clear. It is simple. And it is passionate.
Personally, I found this book extremely helpful especially as I prepared a sermon of my own this week. Yawn’s combination of technical helps and interviews with the likes of John MacArthur (clarity), R.C. Sproul (simplicity), and John Piper (passion) made this a book I couldn’t put down. Throughout the week I would take breaks in my sermon preparation to read this book and then turn back to my preparation with new insight and motivation to love God and the Word that He provided for us! In reading this book, I was able to directly implement many of these encouragements to my sermon preparation, and it definitely created a new experience for me as a preacher. It was also encouraging to read about the convictions and the discipline of some of the most effective and God-glorifying preachers of our time. The book was full of humbling quotes and insights that had me up late at night, pondering the implications of my preaching. It was probably one of the most impactful books on preaching I’ve read thus far.
I would recommend this book, but to a very specific audience, namely the preaching class. Byron Yawn is very intentional in his introduction in making clear the aims and goals of the book: This book was hand-crafted for the preacher who is seeking to glorify God with faithful exposition, and might just need a little nudge in the right direction to become a more effective preacher. If that’s you, then you need to read this book.