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The Write Stuff: Crafting Sermons That Capture and Convince [Paperback]

By Sondra B. Willobee (Author)
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Item description for The Write Stuff: Crafting Sermons That Capture and Convince by Sondra B. Willobee...

In this book, gifted preacher Sondra Willobee shows how to enliven sermons by using the techniques of great writers. With clarity and wit, Willobee explores the joyful process of crafting effective sermons. The book includes three sections: (1) hook, how good sermons begin with something that grabs listeners attention; (2) book, how to shape a sermon with narrative pulse and ascending emotional intensity so that listeners experience the gospel; and (3) stone, how good sermons use specific, concrete language. By explaining these techniques, offering many examples, and reflecting on her own successes and failures, Willobee has provided a resource that will rekindle the creativity of experienced preachers and help new preachers develop their own compelling voices.

Publishers Description

With clarity and wit, preacher and writer Sondra Willobee explores the joyful process of crafting effective sermons. Gathering the strategies of good writers, Willobee shows how to capture and keep listeners' attention, how to generate suspense through structure, and how to increase impact with vivid language. In addition, Willobee offers examples, exercises, and reflections that help turn each chapter into a preaching workshop. The result is a book that will rekindle the creativity of experienced preachers and help new preachers develop their own compelling voices.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox
Pages   123
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 25, 2011
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664232817  
ISBN13  9780664232818  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > Writing > Writing Skills
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Preaching
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Education > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Write Stuff: Crafting Sermons That Capture and Convince?

Get Right to the Point  Feb 28, 2009
I really enjoyed reading this book. It went more quickly than I thought it would. It is very well-organized, and I liked the use of humor. The book reflects idealism and pragmatism, both of which I admire.

Mark Miller, Kalamazoo, MI
A strong book on preaching with something for new and old preachers  Feb 5, 2009
Sondra Willobee has written a brief, but jam-packed book on preaching that is full of wonderful ideas for strengthening the creativity and literary quality of sermons.

Preachers who connect most immediately to the style of Barbara Brown Taylor, Fred Craddock or Thomas Troeger will appreciate this book immediately. Willobee has the same commitment to bringing a "writer's eye" into the work of sermon-writing, and the same deep respect for the power of narrative preaching.

But her book is different. It's less purely conceptual (how sermons should be) or theological (how God works through different kinds of sermon forms), and is more of a workbook, complete with exercises. Each chapter contains a section that says "Try This," which contains specific suggestions. Some are writing strategies, and they're good, although some are derivative. (For example, toward the end of the book, she illustrates the difference between active and passive voice by using an example taken straight out of Strunk and White's "Elements of Style," with the words "Holy Land" instead of "Boston." This doesn't make it bad advice, although perhaps a footnote might have been in order.)

But a new wrinkle (at least for me) were her suggestions about how to become a more thoughtful reader of sermons by masterful preachers -- and of your own old sermons. And this is great advice.

For example, she gives you ways to look at the "hook" at the start of a sermon that either catches the listener's interest or doesn't. Instead of telling us that "sermons should have hooks" and then showing us one of hers with (ta DA!) the most terrific and moving hook you've ever seen...she has you look at the hooks of lots of other things and argue with/for yourself what works or doesn't work about them.

Although it is not entirely fair to make comparisons, "The Write Stuff" reminded me of another book, "The Artist's Way of Preaching," by Charles Denison, which picks up on the approach of the popular creative writing workbook, "The Artist's Way," and tries to apply that same sensibility to sermons. (Willobee even cites Denison's book.) Sound good to you? Get this book. I think it's even stronger. But realize that it's less about the internal work it takes to be a creative person and more about the work itself -- it's kind of the "now what?" that might come after you've finished Denison.

Finally, I appreciated that Willobee honors the challenge of writing well, week in, week out, as preachers try to do. She tells candidly about what it felt like to deliver a dud sermon at her alma mater on alumni weekend -- the kind of opportunity so many preachers dream of. She doesn't pretend that the craft is easy.

If you are looking for a book that will give you practical guidance as well as inspiration in the craft of writing a narrative, literary sermon, this book will be a tremendous addition to your library.

I am also glad to report that it is no longer taking weeks to arrive, since it has been released by WJK Press. Do your congregation a favor and get it for yourself. And work with it. You'll be glad.

Well worth the wait...  Jan 13, 2009
Although the shipping time may be 3 to 6 weeks, this book is well worth the wait!

Willobee presents her material in an accessible and interesting way, allowing readers of all backgrounds to explore applying creative writing techniques to preaching. Furthermore, with her vivid explanation of a variety of approaches, her countless examples from professional and personal experience, and her easy to employ workshop format, Willobee ensures that anyone can perfect the art of preaching.

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