When I first heard J.D. Pearring preach, it wasn’t in the most conducive environment to receive the heart of his message. It was just before my wife, Farrah, and I were going to receive our results from a four-day church planter’s assessment called Discovery Center. If you’ve never been assessed, picture The Voice, Survivor, and a dose of American Ninja Warrior thrown in (or that’s what it felt like from an intensity standpoint at least). We were waiting for results that would potentially shape our future (think red light, yellow light, green light—and we really wanted a green light!) and we had to sit through an agonizing message from the guy who might tell you, “You are not cut out to plant a church.” From the moment J.D. began to speak, my attention was captured, and within minutes my heart was moved. By the way, those are critical factors in a great preacher’s ability to move someone; they have to be captivating and motivating, not just educating. JD was both. I’ve heard him give that same message more than twenty times since joining the Discovery Center staff over ten years ago. Every time I hear it, I receive something new. I am captivated again. I am determined to grow in my own preaching as I serve the church we planted, Rivers Crossing Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. J.D. Pearring has the credibility to write a book on preaching because he’s got tenure, yes, but more so because he’s an incredible preacher. I have been preaching for more than two decades, and I’ve seen the Church try to do everything to attract people, often minimizing the importance of preaching in the health and growth of a local church. Some have gone as far to say that preaching is dead. Preaching is ineffective. Preaching has lost its impact on culture. Mark Twain, when he was aging and sick, famously said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Well, I think the reports of preaching’s death are greatly exaggerated. Preaching, and preaching with excellence, is one of the most powerful tools that God has given the church to reach the lost, grow disciples, and equip the saints. In a Pew Research Center’s study1 on why people choose a church, 83% of the people say that the quality of the sermon was the most important factor in choosing a church. More than feeling welcomed. More than the style of services, kid’s programs, and location. Preaching. Without a doubt the quality of your preaching matters. J.D. has discovered what I believe is the missing ingredient in many pulpits: more than one ingredient! Someone needs to say it and I pray that some church boards read this and support their pastor. So many churches are dominated by one burned-out pastor who is preaching forty-eight to fifty Sunday mornings a year, not to mention Sunday nights and a mid-week Bible study. Your preaching will be better when you have a preaching team. A team for feedback. A team for preparation. A team to prevent burnout. A team for fresh perspective. A team to reflect the Scriptures’ example. I love what J.D. says: “Everyone – even preachers – need a push. Why team teaching? Teaching in a team concept gives everyone a push and helps everyone improve. If we are not on a team, we may stifle our own growth.” Don’t stifle your growth. Let J.D. push you to grow as a preacher and push you to develop a team if you don’t have one. At Rivers Crossing, we have greatly benefitted from the principles that J.D. shares in Preaching the Other Way. You will gain insight into the practical how-tos of team teaching as well as fresh ideas if you are already implementing many of these principles in your context. His chapters on the bench, women, and training time are gold. J.D.’s wisdom is priceless, but the case studies at the end of each chapter deliver where it counts: practical application and real-world implementation. I can’t wait to see this book benefit not only your preaching, but the kingdom of God. Start preaching the other way. Today.
- Paul Taylor
Lead Pastor, Rivers Crossing Community Church