by Dave Stone
Group Publishing, (2004). Paperback, 230 pages.
Great and simple introduction to different approaches to the task and art of preaching and communicating the Gospel. The selection of communicators offers genuine variety (13 styles, to be exact), however, Stone’s categorization in that regard is not entirely academic. I suspect that academically trained communicators will receive this book as a lower brow / popular ‘top 13’ type collection.
In a sense, that evaluation is true. The categories used are indeed shaped by the personalities discussed, and not out of thoughtful reflection on the task of preaching itself. And yet that fact does not preclude thoughtful (and helpful) reflection on what is actually happening in preaching today.
To the point, Refining Your Style is aimed, rather, at the normal pastor who is attempting to self identify and so define what is actually happening in their preaching. The anecdotal and practical edge of this work, which includes an audio cd of examples, therefore cuts quickly past academic questions about communication and goes right for the ways of the pulpit. That makes it a very useful and enjoyable read, (and listen!), especially for a preacher who’s trying to grow in their art.
I’d recommend this without hesitation to preachers asking questions either of self-definition and the means and focus of effective expression, or questions of our current culture and functional and creative connections to it.