Archives For Bryan Chapell

Have you ever been deeply disappointed with your own preaching, felt like a failure, and considered leaving the ministry?

Bryan Chapell did, and in a recent Faithlife Today interview, Chapell relates how his sense of failure as a preacher led him to write his book Christ-Centered Preaching.

I was first introduced to Christ-Centered Preaching in a seminary class called Expository Sermon Preparation. To be honest my initial impression was that the book was too formulaic. I didn’t care for the recommended (or required, as some of us thought) indicative-imperative structure of the homiletical idea (“Because this is true, you must respond in this way.”), and I was not convinced that the Fallen Condition Focus (FCF) was a legitimate or necessary concept.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and I now have a different perspective on the book. I have come through experience (both in preaching and in teaching preaching) to buy in to many of the concepts presented in Chapell’s book. Each year I have my advanced homiletics class read chapters 10 and 11 on the theology of Christ-centered messages. We have some great in-class discussions, and I love seeing the lights come on for my students as they realize that preaching Christ doesn’t mean forcing Jesus into every text.

Here’s how Chapell put it, and in my opinion, this has to be one of the most important sentences in the entire book:

Christ-centered preaching rightly understood does not seek to discover where Christ is mentioned in every text but to disclose where every text stands in relation to Christ. (emphasis mine)

Others have since written on this subject and provided valuable and additional light on what it means to preach Christ, but let me encourage you to read those two chapters if you haven’t (or haven’t in a while). And why don’t you take five minutes to listen to Chapell share the story behind one of the most-used books on preaching. You will be reminded that the heroes of the Bible are often a mess, but that God in his grace still uses them. And he can use you and me too.

If you’re like me and have read Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon and benefited from his discussion of redemptive-historical preaching, I’m sure you will want to get a copy of Christ-Centered Sermons: Models of Redemptive Preaching. The book will be available this September. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Highly regarded preacher and teacher Bryan Chapell shows readers how he has prepared expository sermons according to the principles he developed in his bestselling Christ-Centered Preaching. This companion volume provides concrete examples of how Chapell’s approach is fleshed out in various types of sermons and various genres of the Bible. The example sermons not only demonstrate different approaches but also are analyzed for pedagogical purposes, helping readers move from theory to practice. In essence, the book allows students and preachers to look over Chapell’s shoulder as he prepares these messages to learn how to construct their own expository sermons that communicate grace and truth from both the Old and New Testaments.

I know from in-class experience how helpful “concrete examples” can be in solidifying general concepts for students. This book should prove to be very useful as a companion textbook for those who teach homiletics. I’ll let you know what I think when I get my copy this Fall.