By Caleb Kaltenbach
My favorite tool for sermon writing isÂ Logos Bible Software. As far as the exegesis of a sermon, nothing can beat it. Logos works quickly and has multiple resources within the program. Not only that, you can download the program onto your smartphone, enabling you to access Logos no matter where you are.
A couple of years ago I joinedÂ PreachingToday.com. Some of the best illustrations I”ve used (that aren”t personal) come from this great website. It costs a little each month, but it is worth it. Type in your passage and you”ll find many illustrations to choose from. You can also filter your search, limiting it to movie illustrations, book illustrations, culture, etc. In addition, I”ve gotten some great inspiration for sermon series ideas from Christian Standard”s website (ChristianStandard.com). I wouldÂ highly recommend it.
Recently I joined preachingrocket.com. This membership includes monthly coaching by Jeff Henderson (one of the campus pastors at North Point Community Church in Atlanta) and regular teaching from various pastors. I also get outstanding sermon illustrations each month, new thoughts on pieces of the sermon (like “introductions”), and so on.
I believe a preacher needs to be a lifelong learner. Right now I”m finishing my doctorate in preaching. Schools like Lincoln Christian University, Johnson University, and others have master”s degree concentrations in preaching, and you can finish the degree via distance learning. Other schools, like Dallas Christian College, have online preaching classes that the schools will allow you to audit.
However, one doesn”t need to return to school to be a student of the pulpit. For instance, reading some of the latest books on preaching can be a huge help. A couple of years ago, Don Sunukjian (Biola University preaching professor) wrote a new introduction on preaching, and his insight on preaching was refreshing. One can also go to iTunes to find entire online classes on preaching””downloadable and free!””from schools like Covenant Seminary or Reformed Seminary.
One of the best ways to be a lifelong learner is by listening to a sermon from a preacher you admire. Hear me out””I”m not talking about stealing sermons or preaching what someone else wrote, but there are people I try to listen to each week. I get inspiration from some great preachers from around the globe. The web provides endless possibilities to sit at the feet of some powerful communicators. In addition, many Bible colleges and seminaries put their chapel sermons online. Listening to illustrations, techniques, and understanding their interpretation of passages helps me to hone my preaching ability.
Finally, never underestimate Skype! You can now write sermons with someone across the country or around the globe without leaving your office! The web has given us new resources for preaching. Let”s use them well.
Caleb Kaltenbach is senior pastor with Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, Texas.