Title: 8 Hours or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster
Author: Ryan Huguley
Genre: Church & Ministry/ Pastoral Help/ Preaching
Pages: 160 (According to Amazon, but there is probably less than 130 + 18 pages of appendices and notes)
Ryan Huguley’s book, 8 Hours or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster, is an easy and informative read. The author uses language that the average Joe can understand but references many other works that offer a challenge to those who long to test their theological thinking. Huguley’s book allowed me to both read quickly while comprehending his argument at the same time. This is what made the book so enjoyable for me. I love it when authors can be simple, concise, and clear.
What caught my eye about this book was the title, 8 Hours or Less. I thought to myself, “Man, I really need to know how to make full use of my work day in the office preparing sermons! Learning how to use my time in 8 hours a day for 5 days a week (40 hour work week) will be a great way to manage my schedule!” However, after reading the description to the book I quickly found that this book was not how to manage a 40-hour sermon prep. week. Ryan Huguley argues for only 8 hours of sermon prep. a week! This is what caught my attention.
After having read the book I can say that Huguley does a marvelous job laying out a plan to accomplish 8 hours, or less, in the study preparing a sermon. He first describes what a faithful sermon looks like. A faithful sermon must be “saturated in Scripture, Christ-centered, culturally contextualized, directed to the whole person, and proclaimed boldly.” Really, Huguley argues for expository preaching. That is faithful preaching. Preaching the text of Scripture in a way that displays what God has really revealed.
The rest of the book is spent building upon writing a faithful sermon in a week with the framework of spending only 8 hours of the preacher’s time. The author goes day by day, Monday through Sunday, describing what he personally does in his study time and offering the reader advice for structuring their day to maximize productivity.
Pastor’s have packed schedules with limited time to spend in the study each week. A solo-pastor has even less time, to my knowledge. Between counseling members of the church, performing weddings and funerals, to writing Sunday school material the pastor’s time in a week can easily slip away. Huguley offers an intriguing solution to the problem that many pastors face, spend less time preparing faithful sermons.
I would recommend this small work to any aspiring pastor, seasoned pastor, or anyone that longs to preach God’s Word faithfully. I am unsure about the length of time that Ryan Huguley suggests to spend in the study, though. 8 hours preparing a faithful sermon hardly seems fitting for the preacher of God’s Word, especially if that preacher is a full-time minister. I admit it is better than Driscoll’s mere hour or two, but spending only 8 hours in the study a week? Jonathan Edwards was known for spending 16 hours a day in his study, granted some of which was not spent on sermon preparations. Maybe it is a matter of opinion on my part, but I would think that if you are to preach a faithful sermon, assuming your sermon is 30-45 minutes, you would need to be in the study at least 16 hours a week. Yet, I must applaud Huguley for finding a pattern that seems to fit well with his schedule. The author’s goal “isn’t merely getting everyone to finish their preparation in eight hours.” His goal “is to help as many preachers as possible make their weekly preparations as fruitful, effective, and efficient as they possibly can.”
*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishing in exchange for my honest review.