360-Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word360-Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word
Michael J. Quicke
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Few of us would disagree with Michael Quicke's assertion that "twenty-first century preaching needs less function and more unction." Yet, in the midst of our attempts to lead and deal with the ever-increasing loads of administrative details we have little time to consider how we can restore such unction, or godly passion, to our preaching. Fortunately, in 360 Degree Preaching Quicke explains how sermons that are inspired and enabled by the Trinity will be both filled with unction and able to transform both the preacher and the church. Following in the footsteps of such classics as Biblical Preaching and Between Two Worlds, Quicke has written a book that will deepen your understanding of preaching, challenge you to live a life that is consistent with the gospel you preach and will likely transform the quality of your sermons.

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Dr. Quicke, why did you write this book?

I wrote out of a burden for preaching to be effective in the twenty-first century. As a practitioner for over 30 years I have preached every Sunday and spent massive amounts of energy on sermons. But I have had increasing concern that much preaching is not working well in the UK and USA. Something has gone wrong. It's to do with a loss of a biblical theology of preaching and a failure to recognize culture shift. This book was written out of my teaching and experience to raise a warning and stimulate relevant biblical preaching.

What do you think is its biggest contribution?

I think my idea of 360 degrees aptly sums up the way that God, Father, Son and Spirit are involved in preaching that begins with God and returns to him. It gives a challenging model about how God empowers preaching. His involvement is the most important part!

Who are some of your favorite preachers? Why?

In the book I mention a sermon by Tony Campolo which had such prophetic power I can recall every word. Many preachers have done that to me at different stages of my life, such as Haddon Robinson, Jeremiah Wright, Tom Long, Mike Breaux, John Stott, Barbara Brown Taylor. I shall never forget hearing Martyn Lloyd Jones who held me still for an hour. Nor the first time I heard Billy Graham. Each made impact because I heard God speak through them to me in significant ways.

Can you describe a little more how did you decided upon the analogy of "swim" for preaching?

Well, it started out very differently. For several years I used a picture of the 'preaching climb' with the idea of a preacher building upon various stages such as bible exegesis and interpretation followed by design and delivery. At the mountain peak there would be delivery and then the need to 'come down' ready to start climbing up again for the next preach. However, this model seemed to put too much emphasis on the individual preacher and his or her work. I longed for another metaphor which would give full place to the individual's calling and gifting and yet make it clear that the energy and power came from God. It was then that the idea of 'swim' hit me - the preacher is immersed in God's work and by his Spirit is carried deeper in a 'river' of sermon preparation. The notion of swimming gives the right balance to God's energy and direction. It flows through the stages of preparation by God's power. And what I like best of all is the idea that at the end of the preaching event all the hearers are invited to jump into God's word for a massive splash in! God's word is reshaping us to live our lives differently.

What do you do for personal growth in your preaching?

In terms of the 'swim' I believe strongly in being immersed in God's word by developing my spiritual and relational vitality. The preacher's spirituality comprises healthy knowledge, developing skills and most important of all Christian character grounded in a strongly personal relationship with the Lord. You keep growing as you keep close to the Lord. I think that the process of preaching actually should keep preachers spiritual strong because it involves living closely to God in his word.

What advice would you give to young preachers just starting out?

Test whether this is God's calling on your life by listening carefully to what others say and to your inner convictions of Spirit. If this is God's will on your life, then give your very best to the task. By preaching, individuals are saved and communities are formed and it deserves the best of your knowledge, skills and character. Don't settle for second best but keep preaching and depending on God.

And to those seasoned preachers?

Keep remembering that it is God's energy that makes effective preaching. All of us can develop systems to make preaching doable in busy pastoral life but God wants us to be ambassadors on fire for Christ. And that means continually depending on Him and working with Him!

Thank you much for sharing with us Dr. Quicke. We look forward to hearing more great things from you!