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Humor in Preaching

John W. Drakeford, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986, 160 pages, $6.95, paper.

Reviewed by James L. Stevens, ministerial director, New Jersey Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

The title Humor in Preaching may not appeal to some readers because they will think the book deals mainly with levity in the pulpit, but this is not the case. It is about how to communicate the gospel in an effective way. The contents deal primarily with making the hearing of the gospel a pleasant experience for those who attend worship services or public meetings. Humor creates an atmosphere in which an audience is more inclined to listen and respond.

John Drakeford, a professor of psychology and counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has put together a well-organized, easy-to-read book on the craft of preaching. He shows how humor can help build a relationship between preacher and audience, but states that "the humor advocated here is a kind that gives the impression of humility, and makes the listener feel relaxed and receptive." Drakeford discusses the various uses of humor, the humor cycle, and developing a communicative attitude that puts the audience at ease and able to respond to your message.

He cautions about the overuse of humor when he says, "It is important to remember that a preacher can become too interested in humor, miss the point of his calling, and sink to the role of a jester. . . . Perhaps such preachers are rare, but all preachers must learn to be sensitive to occasions when humor is inappropriate."

My evaluation of this book is that it is tremendously helpful, and we have ordered one for every minister in our conference.


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Reviewed by James L. Stevens, ministerial director, New Jersey Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

September 1988

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