How to preach God’s word and keep people awake
By Gary Millar and Phil Campbell
Eutychus never knew that night would forever change his life. He never knew how close to death he sat. But he soon found out.
What happened? Well, he fell asleep listening to Paul teach. Normally, we don’t consider following asleep in a sermon to be the end of the world, but in this case, for Eutychus, it was.
You see as Paul spoke late into the night, Eutychus dozed off…perched in an open window! When at last his head nodded down, so too his whole body slid out and fell down from the window. He lay dead on the ground below. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. Paul restores him by the power of Christ and the gospel marches on, further validated by this miraculous event.
In their book Saving Eutychus: How to preach God’s word and keep people awake, Gary Millar and Phil Campbell use this incident and powerful imagery to remind us of the significance and difficulty of preaching. Faithful preaching has the power to arrest hearts and change lives, and yet, even the best of preachers (e.g. Paul) must deal with the everyday dynamics of sermon length, interest, timing, etc.
Preaching is a craft where you never “arrive.” One must constantly battle to improve, be clear, and connect. So any bit of advice or words of wisdom are always welcome. In Saving Eutychus, Millar and Campbell offer a collection of tried and true thoughts on preaching. Their slim volume comes as a welcome addition to any preacher’s library.
Saving Eutychus calls us to preach faithfully (content) and to preach well (delivery) and offers insight on how to do both. Millar and Campbell write as accomplished practitioners and yet also as everyday blokes. In fact, it is this down-to-earth mix of wit and wisdom that gives the book wings and what I enjoyed most about it.
Saving Eutychus is not a manual on preaching. Rather, it reads like letters from the front lines from average joes who know the battle firsthand. Millar and Campbell write with a conversational tone and never act like they have it all figured out. Instead, they share stories and lessons from their own ministries, both the successes and failures. I found myself humored, encouraged, and challenged throughout its pages.
Regardless of whether you’re just starting out as a teacher/preacher or if you’ve been at it for years, you will find this book to be a very helpful resource. I gladly commend it to you.