A couple of weeks ago I tweeted the following in response to a joke Holly made about my affinity for listening to preachers:
@hollyfurtick says I’m a preaching junkie. I prefer the term spiritual bodybuilder. Gotta consume to create.
It’s a little cheesy, but it’s true.
A lot of people don’t know it, but bodybuilders spend almost as much time eating as they do exercising. Taking in as they do working out. We’re talking 6-7 meals and 5000-8000 calories. Per day. If they don’t, they’ll be too depleted to maximize their physical output and attain the gains they’re training for.
Preaching is like bodybuilding. You have to consume to create. Import to impart.
Obviously and especially we’re talking about the Bible here. That’s the basic nutrient you need to consume. But you also need to take in sermons. Books. Blogs. Tweets. Podcasts. Anything you can get your hands on.
Partly for your own spiritual benefit. When you became a pastor, you didn’t get past the need to hear the Word of God for yourself. And you never will.
Partly for the benefit of your preaching. One of the greatest commodities you have as a preacher is your exposure to other preachers. Their techniques. Their illustrations. Their insights.
To give you a place to start, I want to give you part of a list I made recently of pastors I’m listening to in 2011.
Some of the guys below are good friends that I’ve listened to forever and I’d probably kill for them. Others I’ve just heard about recently and want to listen to them in the coming year. They’re not ranked in order and I’m sure I left a few out.
All that to say, don’t think this is the end all, be all of lists. You probably have your own that you would add to the list. That’s great. Listen to them too.
One piece of advice as you’re going through this list: Don’t make the mistake of consuming only from the people you already agree with. It isn’t helpful. You don’t need a personal amen corner.
Instead, glean from a variety of perspectives. Listen to pastors who wouldn’t preach at the same conference. Absorb both of their material. Then make judgment calls about what you want to assimilate and integrate and what you need to throw away.
Here’s the list, with links to their sermons:
And while you’re at it, read some Spurgeon. You can never go wrong with him.