Preaching Sticky Sermons, by Brandon Kelley and Joe Hoagland (Rainer Publishing, 2016), is an excellent book. The authors are graduates of Cincinnati Christian University (an institution affiliated with the Christian Churches [Restoration Movement]).

From the foreword (by Tim Harlow, author of Life on Mission):
"As a pastor, you can make lots of mistakes and still grow a church. But one thing you can't afford to let go is the preaching of the Word. A church just won't grow without solid, compelling preaching."

Why we need this book:

  • Most of us preachers have been trained to pluck verses from their contexts, bending the scriptures to our preaching agenda, instead of bending our thoughts to the scriptures. The discipline of sermon preparation is not easy, but it can be done!
  • Too many messages contain tangents and asides that detract from the punch of the message. Preaching Sticky Sermons tells us how to keep on track.
  • Audiences are put off by speakers who ramble or run overtime. By carefully crafting a one-point message, we learn to speak concisely and more powerfully.
  • Often messages are dry–either too academic or without appropriate personal sharing. The authors explain how to capture and maintain audience interest.
  • Sermons often lack a clear point. Instead, each "point" is a mini-sermon–making the "sermon" as cluster of mini-messages. This makes it less likely people will remember the message–or that hearts will changed.

The book is highly readable:

  • Short chapters
  • Generous margins and line spacing
  • Only 200 pages
  • Informal style


  • The book is clearly written. (The only weakness I noticed were a good number of formatting errors, which at times could be distracting.)
  • The authors understand audiences, especially the younger generation.
  • The book is highly practical. Below I reproduce selections from the Table of Contents (which lists 40 chapters in all, including the conclusion).

In the Athens/Atlanta Institute of Ministry, I believe we will soon begin to require Preaching Sticky Sermons in our homiletics training. If you deliver sermons or speeches, you will benefit from this book. – D.J.

Section 1: Great Preaching Begins with Great Preparation

1. Prepare Yourself
4. Prepare Your Sermon in 10 Minutes (for practice)
5. Keys for Great Exegesis
6. Get the Right Tools
8. Sermon Series Planning
9. Planning a Year of Preaching

Section 2: Write for Maximum Impact
10. When You're Not Feeling Creative
11. Topical Preaching?
12. Expository Preaching?
15. Structuring a Sticky Sermon
17. How to Move from Manuscript to Preaching Notes
18. How to Create an Engaging Introduction
22. Keys to Closing Your Sermon Powerfully

Section 3: Deliver Intentionally and Powerfully
26. What to Do When You're Done Writing Your Sermon
27. Do You Get Nervous Before Preaching?
33. Your Vocal Toolbox
35. What You Need to Know About Using Media

Section 4: Beyond Sunday
36. Evaluate Your Last Sermon
37. How to Take Your Sermon Past Sunday
38. How to Handle Bad Sermon Criticism