A couple of years ago, I went to a preaching workshop in Graham, TX. I had been to conferences before and always enjoyed the content and breakouts. If you are like me, conferences provide an information overload that sometimes leaves me feeling overwhelmed at how to implement what I learn. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the content and always take home a few nuggets, so the cost of the event is always worth it. I want to be a lifetime learner, and I am all too aware of my pastoral inadequacies. This workshop, however, was different than anything I had experienced before. I was given homework to finish before arriving and the entire workshop was 100% focused on preaching. Of course, as a pastor, I have a passion for the art of preaching. In one of the first sessions, one of the speakers made a statement that cemented in my mind the desperate need I have to regularly be equipped to preach. This is not an exact quote, but he said something like, “A preaching workshop is like Spring Training. Yes, you already know the basics, but we regularly need to re-focus on the basics to become better. Just like a baseball player needs to re-focus on their swing, throwing, catching, etc., the preacher also needs opportunities to take a step back and be reminded of the basics.”
I tend to start the year excited about a new year of preaching and ready to improve on areas in my preparation where I have become lax. Maybe some years I want to focus on improving my illustrations or maybe I want to be more organized in my weekly study routine. But throughout the year, as the weeks go by, those desires get placed on the back burner as the needs of pastoral ministry pile up. This is where preaching workshops and conferences become essential for me. I love hearing world-class preachers like Alistair Begg or H.B. Charles bring the Word. But I also need to fall back in love with engaging with the Text and honing my skills as a preacher. The value for me is far greater if I can bring a “Timothy” with me to grow and hone his skills. These goals are what Yellowstone Association hopes to accomplish with our Text-Driven Preaching Workshop.
I have had the opportunity to hear David Allen preach and teach at several conferences and have grown to love his nomenclature of “Text-Driven Preaching.” As a product of our SBC seminaries, I have full buy-in to the general expository model of preaching. “Text-Driven Preaching” does not mean a running commentary or even require that preaching through books of the Bible must be the only type of acceptable preaching. While I am convinced that the healthy diet of the congregation should primarily include preaching through books of the Bible, I also inject topical or theological series into my preaching calendar so that my congregation has a balanced diet. “Text-Driven Preaching” means that whatever you preach, it should come from the text of Scripture! If I am preaching a series on generosity, the birth of Christ, or even the Trinity, I want to be assured that my sermons are coming from the text, not just from a systematic theology or the latest Piper book.
David Allen’s passion is that every sermon is tied to the text, not to the preacher’s imagination. From main idea, to expository outline, to preaching outline, to application, all parts of the sermon should flow from the text of Scripture. As I sit at my desk and write this article, my Logos is open and one pane is a workflow of Allen’s 12-Step Preaching Method, which helps direct and focus my study each week. Allen is a world-class professor of preaching and a gifted preacher, but I have benefited most from his perspective that everything in the sermon should be driven primarily by the text. After all, God wrote His Word the way He wrote it for a reason. Nothing in Scripture is by accident. So, in my preaching, I want my sermon to reflect the Text as much as possible, so that I can be confident that my sermons are a reflection of God’s Word, not my own thoughts.
The Text-Driven Preaching Workshop is designed to not only give in-class teaching to help train, develop, and re-focus your skills in the pulpit, but also includes a hands-on experience. We chose the term “workshop” on purpose. Before you arrive, you will have the opportunity to work through a passage of Scripture in a very similar way to how you probably approach the text every week (the worksheet will be provided a few weeks before the workshop). During our small group sessions, you will have the opportunity to share your work and receive feedback from other pastors in your group. As iron sharpens iron, so our small groups are designed to sharpen one another and help us learn from one another. Further, we have designed the content to be beneficial not only for pastors. Perhaps you are developing a young “Timothy” to pastor, plant churches, or fill the pulpit. Or maybe you are raising up men to be connect group leaders or elders. We believe that this workshop will be a valuable tool for pastors to bring men that they are pouring into to receive vital training to teach and preach the Bible. We will also have the opportunity to see all of this in action through worship services, which will include high-quality preaching, at the end of each day.
The workshop itself begins on Friday, January 27, 2023 at 2:00pm and ends on Saturday, January 28, at 5:00 pm. If you register by December 15, the cost is only $30. After December 15, the cost will be $40. I have spent $130 for similar workshops, so the cost is unbeatable. Registration will close on January 15 so that registrants will have adequate time to prepare for small groups and so that we can best prepare to serve you. Registration costs include breakfast on the 28, as well as help cover the cost of some resources we plan to give away to everyone in attendance. Dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday will be your responsibility. These meals are opportune times to digest the information and build relationships with others. Full schedule and registration are available at https://mtsbc.org/text-driven-preaching-2/. I pray that you will take the opportunity to join us at Heights Baptist Church in Billings for the Text-Driven Preaching Workshop. If you have any questions, please reach out to Darren Hales, Steve Fowler, or myself. My e-mail is [email protected]. I look forward to seeing you in January!