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This book is an accessible, readable, and enjoyable introduction to ‘giving a bible talk’. The author uses the analogy of a flight (and shamelessly riffs off the tagline that British Airways use) to offer practical pointers regarding preparation and delivery. The analogy of a flight is at the heart of the book – and I think it really works. Echoing the nervousness that many feel when flying, Adrian engages the reader (anyone giving any kind of talk on the Bible, anywhere) in practical terms as a reassuring older voice. Imagin Han Solo sitting in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon with Rey and you’ve got the image (though, it is worth mentinoing, the authors and editors have a complementarian perspective on bible teaching, which doesn’t actually get in the way of what is being said here). The analogy holds up pretty well, with the takeoff, level flight, and landing mapping directly to the beginning, middle and end/application of a bible talk. The subtitle of this book, ‘practical help for giving a bible talk’ demonstrates the utility of this book. This is a book looking at the nuts and bolts of delivery, and constantly and consistently reminding the reader (and potential speaker!) of what is going on and what is it for. The emphasis ‘to serve’ is helpful – Adrian is quick and regular in reminding readers that bible talks are not to glorify the talker but to serve the people listening and lift up the name of Jesus. This is a vital correction that is often not in view in discussions of leadership and preaching. One question, particularly with the Proc Trust heritage and the FIEC logo on the front, is ‘Who is this book for?’. If you can (and you should!) get past the personal perspectives of the author and its existence in an (excellent) series edited by FIEC leaders, then this is an accessible, biblical, wise and reassuring guide to giving bible talks. If I were involved in church leadership, this would be a great way for someone to prepare for giving their first talk. This is a book for seasoned preachers too – profile does not replace truth or the Spirit, and Adrian’s reminders in this book are as much for older, ‘established’ preachers as they are for rookies or non–entitities like myself. You can probably tell from my review that I’m a fan of this book. I think it is accessible – in that it is readable, understandable, and offers suggestions for where to go next in preparing to preach and teach the bible. I think that it is biblical – in that it takes the spotlight off the talk–giver and instead puts it onto the text and its supreme subject, Jesus. And I think that this book is wise and reassuring, an experience pilot showing the next generation – and perhaps reminding his own – about how to fly and flourish in the vital task of preaching God’s word.
A masterpiece of clarity and brevity. Not a word is wasted. The analogy of a good flight from preparation through take–off, level flight and landing to leaving the aircraft works extremely well. The emphasis on the part of the preacher as the employee of the airline is skilfully explored and should be brought to mind by anyone about to bring God’s word to his ‘passengers’. Adrian takes the reader on this journey with warmth and with clear pastoral care for the way in which those hearing the word should be served. Indeed, the use of the old BA slogan as the title of the book is the recurring theme throughout. I wonder how many speakers will climb up to the pulpit without the words, ‘Cabin doors to automatic and cross check’ flitting through their thoughts.
Adrian has crafted a most helpful and enlightening entry level book on preaching. His topic is not so much a ‘how to’ of preaching but is a stunning reminder on the what of preaching. It is a book that keeps the constant goal of preaching in the preacher’s mind. Adrian’s clarion call to all people giving a ‘Bible talk’ about the need to be congregation focussed and serve them in the best way we can is timely. His consistent analogy about the preacher as pilot is very illustrative and the imagery very memorable, meaning that the pilot checklist is easily recalled as one crafts, structures and seeks to deliver a talk from the Bible. It also gives a wonderful framework to evaluate preaching and challenges us to constantly think about how we can all strive to be better preachers. It makes us consider the transitions in our attempt at ‘smoothness’, our post sermon accessibility at the ‘arrivals lounge’, and our desire to get onto the runway in good time and without bumpiness in our ‘landing’ phase. I think it is very accessible, very practical and I love the way Adrian humbly makes fun of himself which inspires people in the task, urging them to take it seriously and give their best, Adrian is very disarming in his writing style. During my time in pastoral ministry I have read a lot of books on preaching, I have even attempted to run some preaching classes to equip capable people in our congregation. I am definitely going to use this book as a gentle introduction for people to begin to get their heads around the task and goal of preaching, I think it is a superb resource. I look forward to multiple copies being delivered in the near future so we can get them into people’s at Bruntsfield. I would give this book a 5 star rating and think it is just what churches and preachers need.