Kent: I have been teaching this integrated preaching approach for 25 years and I felt it was time to put it into print. I wanted to produce a full comprehensive statement on this particular approach to preaching and I was given an opportunity to do that.
It goes back to my pastoral days when I started discovering some new thinking around preaching that emphasized things like narrative and the heart instead of the head. I was intrigued by all the things I was reading but felt a sense that it was a bit of a pendulum swing. I knew there was a better way to go about it and embrace some of these new things without having to give up my heritage in expository preaching and handling a text well. This integrative approach seemed to be something that needed to be done. It needed to be written and articulated well and offered to my students and to the world.
Northwest: This is now your fourth book. How does it differ from the other three?
Kent: In some ways, it is just a progression. My last book, called Choosing to Preach, was more of a map of the landscape of preaching as it existed 10 or 12 years ago. The final chapter of that book offered my sense of where things needed to go – which is to integrate all of the various portions of the map. So this is my opportunity to offer a full statement on that particular way of thinking about preaching.
So in Choosing, we focused on these four different possibilities and what I’m suggesting is that we try to integrate all of them.
Northwest: Who did you write this book for?
Kent: It’s obviously written for my students but pastors, leaders – anybody who finds themselves persuasively communicating the word of God to groups of people, whatever that looks like – it could be helpful for them.
Northwest: What do you want readers of the book to walk away with?
Kent: I want them to go away with a couple things. One, a fresh sense of what it actually means to preach. That we’re not the preachers. God is the one who is speaking in the world. He’s making Himself known and His will known. He speaks into the world and we just have the privilege of helping others hear. So I like to think of preaching as leading in listening to God as the one who speaks, while we are the ones who listen, we take a leadership role in that respect. So I’m hoping readers will gain a healthy perspective on what it is to preach.
And then secondly, I’m hoping they will come away with a really solid integrated model. Something they can work with and go to when they are faced with the task of trying to help people hear what God is saying in his word. It is a very practical book. The theology and the theory are at the beginning but then there is an actual methodology being offered.