“If a sermon is preached in a church and no one is listening, does it make a difference?”
There are many expository preachers who forego dynamic delivery and many dynamic preachers who lose sight of faithfully communicating the biblical text. Too often preachers feel they have to choose one or the other. But dynamic delivery and faithful exposition are not mutually exclusive.
In Preaching to Be Heard, Lucas O’Neill shows pastors that presenting engaging sermons that are biblically focused is not an impossibility. In fact, the key to commanding attention lies in the text itself. Rather than relying on tricks or gimmicks, his approach to sermon writing focuses on maintaining tension throughout while sticking close to the biblical text. Using practical examples and a step-by-step method, O’Neill shows pastors how relying on the inherent anticipation within Scripture can lead to sermons that are powerful—and heard.
Can our preaching be expository and also grab people’s attention? O’Neill answers yes by explaining the role of building tension in preaching. The book is wonderfully clear and full of helpful illustrations and practical advice. A helpful read for every preacher!
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
In his insightful book on preaching, Lucas O’Neill brings together a variety of disciplines and experiences into a unified and practical approach that will help any preacher—whether you're still in seminary or have been preaching for 20 years. For those that desire to grow in their ability to be both faithful to Scripture and command the attention of their hearers, this is the book for you.
—Julius J. Kim, dean of students and professor of practical theology, Westminster Theological Seminary (California); author of Preaching the Whole Counsel of God: Design and Deliver Gospel-Centered Sermons
If you are a preacher, tension is your friend, not your enemy. In fact, if your sermon lacks tension, people will stop listening—even if you are not finished preaching. Fortunately, as Lucas O’Neill argues, expository preaching and engaging preaching are not mutually exclusive. This volume will help you harness the power of tension in your preaching to command the attention of your listeners. There are no gimmicks here. O’Neill’s strategy reflects how the Bible itself communicates its message. For the good of your listeners and the glory of God, take and read this book. Then put it into practice.
—Steven D. Mathewson, author of The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative and Preaching the Four Gospels with Confidence
Lucas O’Neill (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is clinical associate professor of homiletics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He has pastored Christian Fellowship Church (Itasca, IL) for over ten years, and is the executive director of the Chicagoland Gospel Network. He has also taught preaching courses at Moody Bible Institute, in Novi Sad, Serbia, and in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He is married to Tina, and they have four children.