Working Preacher Books

A series of compelling, timely books on biblical preaching. Luther Seminary and Fortress Press have launched a book series called Working Preacher Books.

We believe that God uses good preaching to change lives. Our books help preachers make the Bible come alive every time they preach.

Book cover: Preaching the Headlines by Lisa L. Thompson

Preaching the Headlines

By Lisa L. Thompson

Preaching the Headlines reframes preaching as an ongoing conversation between the modern world and the world of the biblical text. Preachers use what they know about life as a bridge to the text, while life in the text provides the bridge back to faith in the contemporary world. The goal of the book is to provide a process to aid preachers in doing theological reflection on the everyday world as an integral part of sermon development.

This book is a must-read for those who think preaching the gospel matters in a world where it too often seems like ‘God is not.'”
– Kelly Brown Douglas, Union Theological Seminary

Publication date: August 31, 2021

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Book cover: Writing for the Ear, Preaching from the Heart by Donna Giver-Johnston

Writing for the Ear, Preaching from the Heart

By Donna Giver-Johnston

In Writing for the Ear, Preaching from the HeartDonna Giver-Johnston teaches preachers how to communicate effectively—how to get away from their notes and make a more personal connection with their listeners. Grounded in a theology of the incarnation, she offers a step-by-step method for writing sermons with the fewest, most impactful and memorable words and delivered by heart to communicate a message that captures the ears and hearts of listeners.

“Giver-Johnston reveals her own heart for human need, her own ear for the cries of the suffering, her own capacity for lament over fractures in our society , and her own tenacious hope in the healing power of the gospel.”
– Thomas G. Long, Candler School of Theology

Publication date: August 10, 2021

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Preaching Jeremiah by Walter Brueggemann
The fifth book in the Working Preacher Books series.

Preaching Jeremiah

By Walter Brueggemann

In this book, Walter Brueggemann conducts in an experiment in homiletics. He wants us to wrestle with the question: What if we allow the canonical shape of the book of Jeremiah to instruct us concerning the shape and trajectory of the sermon? The preaching task requires honesty about what God requires and a clear proclamation of what God has done and will yet do.

Publication date: November 3, 2020

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A Lay Preacher’s Guide

by Karoline Lewis

In A Lay Preacher’s Guide: How to Craft a Faithful Sermon, Karoline M. Lewis provides lay preachers with an essential and accessible guide to the basics of Sunday-morning preaching. In this go-to resource for lay preachers, Lewis lays out in a concise and clear format the steps to preaching a faithful sermon, a process that can be immediately applied to weekly sermon preparation.

Publication date: May 5, 2020

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The Gospel People Don’t Want to Hear

by Lisa Cressman

Lisa Cressman, founder of Backstory Preaching, provides tools to craft difficult sermon messages that can be heard. Part 1 focuses on the preacher’s preparation, the building of mutual trust with listeners, and the authority needed to proclaim the gospel with empathy, compassion, and skill. Part 2 focuses on the sermon itself with practical suggestions on what to say and how to say it.

Publication date: May 5, 2020

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Leading with the Sermon

by William H. Willimon

Prolific author William H. Willimon makes the compelling case that two key pastoral tasks—preaching and leadership—complement, correct, strengthen, and inform one another. Preaching is the distinctive function of pastoral leaders. Leadership of the church, particularly during a challenging time of transition in mainline Protestantism, has become a pressing concern for pastors. This book shows how the practices, skills, and intentions of Christian preaching can be helpful to the leadership of a congregation.

Publication date: Feb. 4, 2020

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Preaching from the Old Testament

by Walter Brueggemann

In this new volume, prolific scholar Walter Brueggemann seeks to show Christian preachers how to consider the faith witnessed in several Old Testament traditions and to help them discover rich and suggestive connections to our contemporary faith challenges. The author also assumes that a wholesale sustained engagement with the Old Testament is worth the effort for the preacher. He recognizes what he calls the “sorry state” of Old Testament texts in the Revised Common Lectionary, which he claims often constitute a major disservice for the church and its preachers. The lectionary gerrymanders the Old Testament to make it serve other claims, most of the time not allowing it to have its own evangelical say. Brueggemann hopes that his exposition in this volume will evoke and energize fresh homiletical attention to the Old Testament, precisely because he believes the urgent work of the gospel in our society requires attentive listening to these ancient voices of bold insistent faith.

“I read Walter Brueggemann and it makes me want to preach.”
– Jason Byassee, Vancouver School of Theology

Publication date: May 17, 2019

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