Topical Preaching in a Complex World

SKU: 9780310108900
Topical Preaching in a Complex World

Topical Preaching in a Complex World

SKU: 9780310108900
Author: Sam Chan, Malcolm Gill | Publisher: Zondervan

Be Equipped to Prepare and Deliver Engaging, Biblical, and Effective Topical Sermons

Sooner or later, every preacher will come upon a situation where they need to preach a topical sermon. Yet few are taught to preach topically. Even preachers who are gifted in expositing the Scriptures may struggle to deliver a topical sermon that is engaging, culturally relevant, and true to the biblical text. Worse, many pastors worry these messages undermine confidence in the Bible or its authority, leading to a human-centered rather than a God-focused sermon. But that doesn't have to be the case.

In Topical Preaching in a Complex World, Sam Chan and Malcolm Gill answer these objections and chart a path for how preachers can deliver faithful and effective topical messages. First, they address the biblical, theological, and cultural reasons pastors should add topical sermons to their preaching repertoire. Then, they introduce a straightforward, four-fold approach for preaching a topical message and answer important questions like these:

  • How do you approach a topic with the proper interpretative lens?
  • How can you speak to two or more audiences with the same sermon?
  • What should you consider theologically, culturally, and pastorally in your preparation?
  • How do you trace the topic back to Christ?
  • How can you better connect with your audience?

Best of all, they help readers craft a message that says something people truly need (and want) to hear! Filled with wit, humor, and wisdom from decades of preaching, this book will equip preachers, pastors, ministry leaders, and students to preach relevant, biblical, and engaging topical sermons.

Author Sam Chan says, "Just over a decade ago, I was asked by an organization to speak at their end-of-year dinner. They wanted me to address the topic of being a Christian single, but I had no idea how to prepare and deliver a topical talk. When the night arrived, I preached an old three-point expository sermon and merely changed the ending to include some application on singleness. At best, I got some polite comments afterwards. At worst, people's looks indicated that my biblical talk had little relevance for them. They could not have been less fooled by my disingenuous workaround.

I went home vowing never to repeat that poor performance. I felt like the unfaithful servant who had not adequately used what talents had been given to him. As a result, I have dedicated the last decade of my preaching ministry to overcoming and mastering the art of topical preaching. This book is a product of that journey."

About the Authors

Sam Chan (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; MBBS, University of Sydney) is a public evangelist with City Bible Forum in Sydney, Australia, where he regularly shares the gospel with high school students, city workers, doctors, and lawyers. He is the author of the award-winning book Evangelism in a Skeptical World and regularly speaks at conferences around the world on the practice of evangelism in a post-Christian culture. Sam blogs at

Malcolm Gill (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) currently serves on the ministry team at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. Prior to pastoral ministry Malcolm taught preaching at Dallas Theological Seminary as well as Sydney Missionary and Bible College, where he was also the director of Postgraduate studies. He has traveled extensively and has preached throughout North, South, and Central America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Malcolm is married to Tamara and the father of Annabel, Adam, and Zara.

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Topical Preaching in a Complex World is found in these collections: Cultural Engagement | QC² Speakers Academy | SMBC Missions Conference |

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Carlos C
Informed. Nuanced. Practical

Highly informed. Aware of the issues. But at the same time it was forward looking and super practical. Great insights on both how to talk to different audiences AND how to address the same topic in a variety of different ways. The tips on how to talk to camera were worth the price of the book

Excellent read for all preachers

This is an excellent book that all preachers (& aspiring preachers) need to read!

It get beyonds the unhelpful and simplistic cheap shots thrown by proponents of expository and topical preaching. The issue is one of faithfulness to scripture and not structure. Malcolm and Sam get above the fray. They argue well for topical preaching without diminishing the significant place of expository preaching. They navigate this discussion in a way that shows that both topical and expository preaching are complementary tools that both need a place in the preachers 'kit bag.'

Although the book is on topical preaching generally, it is full of gold on the art of preaching full stop. The skilful use of illustrations and examples throughout make the book very enjoyable to read and show that Malcolm & Sam have the runs on the board to write a book like this. It is also deeply pastoral and shows that these guys know the challenges that those in ministry face. By the end of the book I had practical things 'to do' not just more ideas to explore. This is exactly what time poor pastors need!

One of the five best books I've ever read on preaching (and one of the most needed)

Absolutely loved this book. Hands down one of the best five books that I have ever read on preaching. Some individual chapters alone were worth the price of the book.

Both Sam and Malcolm studied and / or taught expository preaching and so are huge advocates of that method. However, they have also worked extremely hard at developing an approach to topical preaching which respects the biblical text, has cultural intelligence, and applies both biblical and systematic theology in a simple and straight-forward manner.

Both have firsthand experience in preaching to audiences of a non-western mindset. Sam is Chinese-Australian and part of a Chinese church. Malcolm is married to a South American. Both regularly preach cross-culturally and so the book is full of illustrations and observations of how they have applied these principles to cross cultural preaching.

For those who favour expository preaching this book dovetails nicely with stuff which you may or may not (but should be) doing already - namely, how biblical theology (i.e., creation, fall, redemption, consummation) categories shape the way we should be teaching / applying a particular topic or ethic. Because of this, they demonstrate the multiple ways in which we should be able to move from any topic to that of Jesus and the gospel. (Loved this!)

Lastly, I'd say that this is possibly the easiest and most enjoyable book I've ever read on preaching. It's simple, readable, enjoyable, and hard to put down. I actually enjoyed reading it (loved the illustrations and additional side notes / observations) - unlike other books which often feel like a slog to get through.

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