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 Vol. 7, No. 10 

October 2005

~ Page 8 ~

Practical Counsel for Preachers

By Dennis Gulledge

Image By far the best book that I have ever read in the area of public speaking is Public Speaking for Ministers by Arthur Stevens Phelps. For twenty-four years this book has "spoken" to me. It is truly a masterpiece, a book of proverbs for preachers and is keenly practical. It is like a psychological textbook for evangelists, written by one who knows about that of which he writes. In the area of the work involved in preaching Phelps said, "The uninitiated have no conception of the tremendous drain speaking makes on the physical powers. I have found a half-hour's address equal to a day's work in the fields. Joseph Parker declared: 'Preaching is self-murder; it is shedding of blood.' It often takes three days to recover the virtue that goes out of one during an earnest appeal, even when the body is in the pink of condition" (31).

Of the difference between the Sunday morning and evening sermons I have long appreciated the studied conclusion of Mr. Phelps when he sagely says, "The secret of the second speech of the day, which has proved such a mystery to many, rests on good psychology. To win a triumph in the morning is to court failure at night, through over-confidence. Your mind is not on the evening appointment: it is on the morning victory. Whereas, if you fail on the first occasion, you are more than likely to be rewarded by making a clean sweep at night. Before honor goeth humility" (34).Image

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