Students, pastors and laypeople will learn the mechanics of text-driven preaching on June 11, when David Allen, dean of Southwestern Seminary’s School of Preaching, leads a free mini-workshop at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix. The Pastor’s Conference will feature 12 small-church pastors preaching expositionally through the book of Philippians. These 12 sermons will all be “text-driven,” and Allen’s pre-conference session will focus on that methodology.

“I am often asked, ‘What is the difference, if any, between text-driven preaching and expository preaching?’” Allen says. “The answer may surprise you. We are not preaching sermons; we are preaching texts.”

Allen defines text-driven preaching as expository preaching in its purest form, where the structure, substance and spirit of the text drive the structure, substance and spirit of the sermon. This means preaching the Word of God “as inspired by the Spirit of God,” Allen says. (Additional information about text-driven preaching is available at

Pastors’ Conference President Dave Miller first proposed the idea of small-church pastors preaching through a book of the Bible in an April 2016 blog post. “When I first heard of Dave Miller’s brainchild, I was excited and skeptical—excited that Dave would foster expositional preaching through a book of the Bible at the Pastor’s Conference, but skeptical as to how it might work,” Allen says.

Miller proposed two days of training in how to approach text-driven preaching, and the Pastors’ Conference speakers met at Southwestern Seminary this February to develop a cohesive unity to their sermons while staying true to God’s Word. Pastors divided Philippians into 12 preaching paragraphs, and plenary sessions focused on defining sermon style.

Allen led the main sessions of the colloquium, walking the pastors through what he called the “seven foundations” of building effective sermons and exhorting them to preach “text-driven” sermons that reflect the structure, substance and spirit of the biblical text. His mini-workshop in Phoenix will focus on these same points.

The Text-Driven Preaching Workshop will take place June 11 at 4:00 p.m. in the Phoenix Convention Center, West Building, Room 301D. It is free to all who wish to attend. The Pastor’s Conference will begin later that evening, with session one starting at 6:00 p.m.