Item description for Countdown to Sunday: A Daily Guide for Those Who Dare to Preach by Chris Erdman...
Overview A seasoned preacher offers concise and practical help for today's busy pastors Brief chapters offer insights on issues facing preachers What pastors need to know about preaching that they didn't learn in seminary Includes organizational help for planning sermons througout the week.
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Studio: Baker Academic & Brazos Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 158743203X ISBN13 9781587432033
Reviews - What do customers think about Countdown to Sunday: A Daily Guide for Those Who Dare to Preach?
At Times It Shines Apr 4, 2008
In this book Erdman strings together a series of meditations on the process of preaching, including philosophical and theological reflections, practical thoughts on preparing to preach, the art of preaching, and prayerful reflection on Scripture. I like the variety of expression this book has. Instead of being a string of "how-to" tips and tricks (though there are some in it), it avoids that kind of simplicity by broadening its scope to questions about why and how we prepare and preach in the real world.
On one level I am torn about how to rate this book. From time to time the things Erdman writes are insightful, helpful, and outright wonderful to read. His encouragement for pastors to be pastors and keep their own souls and congregations rooted in the Word of God is a sorely needed corrective for the self-help pop-psychology that passes for most preaching today. There are several chapters I will keep with me for future encouragement, and several have already influenced my own preparation (to its benefit).
On the other hand, there are ways in which the meditations don't deliver the kind of direction and insight they could have. I don't think it helps pastors very much to be encouraged to not take moral stances when clear moral issues rise to the surface of culture and church. I agree that one of the more important jobs of a pastor is to listen and listen and listen (pg. 103), but another job pastors have is to speak clarity into cultural confusion where it can be spoken. Then there are moments that seem more to be a result of a fairly tinted political view of the world rather than a biblical reflection on things. At times even prophets like Jeremiah seem to be snatched out of context to support a hesitancy to proclaim God's Word into a broken and rebellious world.
As I read I wavered between genuinely appreciating Erdman's insights and writing style, and being irritated. Sometimes irritation is good for the soul as it exposes our own shortsightedness, but I am not sure that's the kind of irritation I felt. Overall, however, I am glad this book is on my shelf.
Don't let death write your sermons Mar 28, 2008
"The best way to be a really good preacher is by not trying to be good at all."
"Go ahead, preach as badly as you can. You can't do it."
If I could just keep those two great bits of advice in healthy tension, I'll be a much better preacher this Sunday.
Knowing Chris Erdman and his giftedness, I was prepared for a great read on the "countdown to Sunday." Not only was I not disappointed, but I feel I am somehow far more prepared for the rest of my Sundays; and far more prepped to engage life and God in a number of ways. Yes, it is officially a practical book about preaching (but far from a cheesy formula or bad sermon itself), but unlike any book in this genre since Dennis Kinlaw's "Preaching in the Spirit," it is far more....it is spiritual formation woven into the stuff of daily life and world events; with a special focus on sermon preparation and preacher preparation.
Of course anyone who grasps the implications of:
1)our living "in modernity's last gasp" 2) U2's "inhabiting" their songs as an encouragement for us to inhabit the text 3) working your week so one can actually spend time with loved ones and sleep well on Saturday, and actually worship with, and enter sabbath with, the congregation 4)"our fear of each other... is at bottom, fear of death"
is a genius in my book!
The book is a model for how to work your week as the sermon grows. Interspersed among the daily guidelines are powerful prayers and fantastic theological and cultural insights. Erdman's eminently helpful suggestions and his engaging conversational tone dovetail with his loaded prophetic statements about (for example) the subtle insidiousness of extreme nationalism. He must be wrestled with.
His four page chapter on hospital visitation shines. I don't dare give it away, but I dare say it changed almost everything about the hospital visit I made today. And probably my sermon this Sunday.
And coming to view funerals as "dissent from death", as well as coming to terms with the fact that "Death would love to help us write our (funeral) sermons" refill me with the hope and life of the gospel.
I particularly enjoy that many of the author's suggestions I have stumbled onto over the years; and several of his ideas I can now incorporate and test-drive. But how I wish I had this book, and Chris Erdman as my preaching professor, twenty years ago.
But if I could eventually say with him that"I nearly always come out of my Fridays with a much clearer sense of what the Word wants to do among us come Sunday," it's not too late.
And I am already drawing from it as I teach preachers in our network. Maybe I'll eventually practice most of it, and not just preach it. Let the countdown begin.
Should be Required Reading Mar 10, 2008
This is a great pastoral tool designed to help a pastor preach more faithfully and realistically. The author encourages the reader to preach their own sermons using their own life experiences, not the experiences or words of others. The book is broken down into daily "spiritual formations" which help the minister focus on the sermon at hand that they will be preaching on Sunday and live the principles in that sermon. Countdown to Sunday helps the preacher to peel off the mask they often feel forced to wear and to and be themselves. His best advice? You have to be real. It's only then you can be useful to God.
This is a good book for every new pastor to read. It should be required reading.
A must read for all who dare to preach Dec 18, 2007
This is a book that all who call themselves preachers should read. It confirms those things which we know to be true about preaching and at the same time challenges the task of sermon writing. It reminds the reader of what the task of preaching is, which is bringing the Word of God to God's people, not God's people bringing a Word to God. As Erdman writes, it is more than a how to book on preaching. It offers the reader a new way of looking at the Word and how it frames our lives. As one who dares to preach and teach regularly it reminds me of the true frame of all that ministers are called to do and that is scripture. This manuscript is a challenge and a joy all wrapped into one.
A good book for the perfectionistic preacher Dec 17, 2007
Mr. Erdman is a preacher. He gives a simple outline on how to prepare sermons through the week. The book was strong in slowing down the preaching preparation. I tend to develop a sermon in one day. Maybe this is done because I preach twice and teach twice, where Erdman seems to develop one sermon a week. His book also gives a lot of grace to the minister as he encourages us to try to fail. He implores to allow the Biblical text to be the highlight of the sermon and not the illustration. He makes a good point in stating that we are too concerned about making the great sermon or making the top delivery of the material. Instead we must focus on allowing the text to mold us. The book is good as a counteraction to the success mindset in the church. It is not the best book on preaching, it is more of a book on some of the poor practices within the Christian world when it comes to preaching. If you are looking for a book to help you develop sermons, this is not the book for you. If you are a perfections when it comes to sermons, this is the book for you.