Review

GENRE: PREACHING
PUBLICATION DATE: JANUARY 2009

T

he Power of Multisensory Preaching and Teaching isn’t exactly groundbreaking. To put it more appropriately, it is not going to be groundbreaking to the thousands of pastors out there who have been teaching this way for years now. However, to those church leaders who have been behind the eight ball and are looking for fresh and engaging ways to speak to their congregants without losing them because of the changes being made, this book may be mind-blowing. So, I suppose it depends on just who picks this up and reads its pages.

Rick Blackwood splits the book into three sections, “Presenting the Multisensory Effect,” “Preparing a Multisensory Message,” and “Preaching a Multisensory Message.” So, the book is simple in its layout and execution. Blackwood wisely chooses an incremental approach for the novice.

“Presenting the Multisensory Effect” is the longest and probably the driest portion of the title, but the second and third parts of the book would not exist if Blackwood did not spend some time laying out the “who, “what,” “when” and “where” of multisensory preaching and teaching. The approach has many detractors, which the author does not simply dismiss and sweep beneath the carpet. Instead, Blackwood addresses the approach’s detractors head-on, laying out the case for why multisensory preaching is necessary and even Biblical. However, again, it is a bit dry. These are the nuts and bolts of the topic and a great deal of time is given to proofs, diagrams, and statistics.

“Preparing a Multisensory Message” is where Blackwood begins to take the time to explain the “how” of this particular approach. Here is where the book becomes like many other preaching titles, only now it is geared more towards those who are speaking to a pop culture saturated constituency. What Blackwood does really well here is he implores people to start small as they move from monosensory to multisensory preaching. If people are like me, when they read something dynamic and new, they want to implement everything they’re read right away, to the detriment of the hearer (and their own style of preaching, which needs time to adapt). He also speaks highly of the advantages to utilizing a teaching team, rather than resting everything on the shoulders of one man who has to figure out how to be creative from week to week.

The final section “Preaching a Multisensory Message” is the apex of everything the preacher/teacher has been preparing himself for—delivering the message for waiting hearts and ears. Here, the communicator is given several different examples of multisensory sermons and sermon series, from beginner to advanced. Believe it or not, reading the beginner’s sermon was my favorite and just blew me away in its effect. Blackwood wants the communicator to first make sure that they get what they’re talking about before the listener hears the first word out of their mouth. After that, it is up to the communicator to make sure the listener gets it and never forgets it.

I believe wholeheartedly in the multisensory approach to ministry. And I believe Blackwood’s The Power of Multisensory Preaching and Teaching is an excellent resource for those considering how to go about doing it. Again, it’s not groundbreaking by any means, but the approach taken in this particular book is one of the better ones I’ve seen and easy to follow and implement once you’ve gotten out of the first section.