- This past year has given me many preaching opportunities. While I typically teach Sunday School, I have been open to speaking where God would have me go. While I appreciate books that help me with the style and substance of preaching, I must not neglect to examine my heart. The Heart of the Preacher by Rick Reed is a book that I believe is helpful and crucial for my spiritual formation as I am given and take more opportunities to preach. Preparing Your Soul Author Rick Reed is the president of Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. He was also the plenary and seminar presenter for Billy Graham’s School of Evangelism and is a master coach for the Global Proclamation Academy in Dallas, Texas with REACH ministries. These qualifications alone seem staggering for a small-town teacher like me, but he writes in a way that is accessible, pastoral, and practical. The book is divided into two halves. The first half is all about Testing the Preacher’s Heart, and it calls us to examine our heart motives and attitudes. The second half is about Strengthening the Preacher’s Heart, and it offers encouragement and practical help to preachers. He keeps his chapters and paragraphs short by sticking to the point. Reed typically opens his chapters with a personal real-example or anecdote. He then takes us to Scripture to see what it has to say. He cuts the text clearly and points out what we need to notice. He then offers encouragement and gives advice grounded in wisdom. Proclaiming the Word The issues that this book tackles are not surface-level or cliche. Chapter 5 is about laziness. While many might think they are busy, Reed cuts deeper and reveals how busyness may be a sign of laziness, especially in preaching. Reed challenges his readers to become excellent preachers. In Chapter 8, he uses the memorable example of music soloists foregoing their music in order to establish a deeper connection and better communicate with the audience. In the same way, he challenges preachers to combat fear and try speaking without sermon manuscripts and notes. While this book offers much introspection, Reed also teaches our hearts how to rightfully respond to others. For example, chapter 11 deals with disengaged listeners, and he writes about preaching to the dozing and the disgruntled. Forming Our Hearts This book offers excellent content on topics that are pertinent to preachers for congregations of all sizes and shapes. What I appreciate most, however, is that Reed does not seek to make himself the hero of his book. He lets us learn from his examples, typically embarrassingly awkward failures, and encourages us. He exhorts us to trust in God. He causes us to look to Christ. He asks us to depend on the Holy Spirit. And when I read his writing I can perceive his heart. It is the heart of a humble preacher. And it is one that I want to cultivate for myself. I was provided a complimentary copy of The Heart of the Preacher in exchange for an honest review.