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Posted October 15, 2007

Book: The Power of Persuasive Preaching
Author: Ben J. Katt
Chalice Press. St. Louis, MO. 2007. Pp. 133

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Ben Katt uses th fictional story of Tim and his mentor to draw readers into practical advice that all preachers can use. Exploring the structure of group persuasion in a church setting. The Power of Persuasive Preaching provides preachers with an approach to analyze their own sermon delivery with regard to their audience. Whether preparing to preach a sermon, teach a Sunday school lesson, or conduct a Bible study, preachers learn how to think persuasively and how to design the delivery of a message that invokes a response.

Preachers struggle to move listeners to action in response to God’s leading. They realize that merely “educating” an audience is not always sufficient to elicit a positive response in listeners’ lives. The Power of Persuasive Preaching fills in the gap between the sermon delivered and the preacher’s need to mobilize the congregation. It focuses on unleashing the power that persuasive delivery can have in opening the congregation to the Holy Spirit’s influence.

An Excerpt from the Book:

This brings us to the last principle of the day. Say what you want your audience to do, not what you do not want them to do. Often a speaker wants to persuade the audience to move in one direction, but the speaker’s words create mental pictures of moving in the opposite direction. A parenting example would be a well-intentional dad who emphatically tells his child, “Don’t play near the street! What picture did he create in that child’s mind?”

“Playing near the street.”

“He said don’t.”

Tim hesitated. “The child hears the word don’t, but sees a picture of playing near the street.” Tim considered the application. His high school basketball coach was big on visualizing. He instructed each athlete to mentally rehearse the flawless execution of his responsibilities on the basketball court. It was a source of great humor for the players. What difference do thoughts make compared to your play on the court? Now, he realized the admonitions were based on a deeper understanding of how the mind operates. But this was preaching, not sports. “You can’t always talk about positive subjects when you preach. How can you talk about redemption if you don’t talk about sin? Sin is not what you want to happen.”

“True. Unless people become unsatisfied with their current situation, they will not expend the energy to change. You must illuminate the unsatisfactory elements in their lives before offering a solution. My point is to always be aware of your purpose in using dark images. After you have convinced people of the hopelessness of their spiritual situation, make sure that the solution is just as compelling.” Mr. Lincoln chuckled. “When my kids were in high school, a college student gave his testimony to the youth group. He talked for thirty minutes about his life before he became a Christian — the parties, the drinking, the women, and the street racing. He concluded in thirty seconds by saying that he gave it all up to become a Christian.”

Tim laughed. “All the kids left the meeting slobbering over mental images of fast cars and fast women.” He reviewed his notes. “You’re saying the audience must first buy into me as a likeable person. Then they must buy into the idea that they have a problem.” He grinned. “That’s beginning to sound like an underlying structure of persuasion.”

Table of Contents:

1. The speaker

2. The biggest mistake

3. Establishing rapport

4. The body of the sermon

5. The invitation

6. Purpose and expectations

7. A plan