Text-driven preaching focus of latest Grindstone
To coincide with the launch of the School of Preaching’s website, Preaching Source, Southwestern’s preaching faculty gathered Sept. 1 for a Grindstone discussion on text-driven preaching. Southwestern Seminary’s School of Preaching, which launched Aug. 1, is dedicated to equipping and training students in the art and craft of text-driven preaching. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern, says the new school is reflective of Southwestern’s mission to “preach the Word and reach the world.”
“The simplest explanation for text-driven preaching is that we are helping people understand and better read the Word of God,” Patterson said. “We are expounding the Word of God. There’s simply nothing more important on any subject than what God has to say about it.”
The new Preaching Source website features tools and resources including preaching blogs, sermon tools, archived sermons, and paragraph-by-paragraph structural outlines of books of the Bible. David Allen, dean of the School of Preaching, said a preaching outline for each book of the Bible will ultimately be made available on the site—tools he said will be of tremendous value to preachers and teachers of God’s Word.
“It is really one of the premiere websites that is available online now,” Allen said. “It offers a plethora of resources available to pastors, students, Bible teachers, and anyone interested in studying the Bible.”
Those who have studied at Southwestern or have simply been influenced by David Allen are particularly familiar with the term “text-driven preaching.” Allen explained that he first used this term as clarifying language to describe expository preaching—a preaching style, he said, that is often incorrectly claimed by pastors.
“That term has become so elastic,” Allen said. “Text-driven preaching is what expository preaching is supposed to be.” Allen defines text-driven preaching as expository preaching “in its purest form,” where the structure, substance and spirit of the text drive the substance, structure and spirit of the sermon.
The preaching panelists—which, in addition to Patterson and Allen, included preaching professors Vern Charette, Matthew McKellar, Kyle Walker and Deron Biles—fielded questions on numerous topics including the history of preaching, evangelistic preaching, and the marks of an effective sermon. Asked to explain the need to provide pastoral leadership from the pulpit, Biles, associate professor of pastoral ministries and preaching, emphasized casting vision as a leader of the church while supporting that vision with truths found in Scripture.
“I would say that in the same way the Bible is our textbook for preaching, it is our sourcebook for ministry,” Biles said. “So everything that we do as servants of the Lord grows out of what we learn from God’s Word. So our faithful preaching of the Word of God inspires people to obedience and faithfulness or conviction led by the Holy Spirit.”
Jamar Andrews, who preached in chapel earlier that day, also participated in the panel in order to discuss what to expect in one’s first pastorate. A graduate of Southwestern (Master of Arts in Islamic Studies, 2014), Andrews now serves as pastor of Central Baptist Word Campus in Jonesboro, Ark. Andrews said his time at Southwestern and learning from experienced preachers such as Allen and Professor of Communication Steven Smith helped equip him to lead his church and deliver text-driven sermons.
“A call to ministry is a call to prepare. There is no other way around it,” Andrews said. “You have heard a lot of wonderful things from members of this faculty that will help shape and guide the ministry direction on a straight path to be able to faithfully take the Word of God and share it in any context, in any country, and any place.”
To view the full Grindstone discussion and access other preaching tools, visit preachingsource.com.