Pete Briscoe: How I Preach

April 18th, 2016| Topic: aBeLOG, How I Preach | 0

Pete Briscoe: How I Preach

Pete Briscoe: And this is How I Preach

[Pete Briscoe is the Senior Pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, a multi-site church in North Dallas; he is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Born in the UK, to a family of preachers, he came to the US when he was seven, and he followed the path of his parents into ministry. I used to attend Bent Tree when I lived (and practiced) close to its location and have always enjoyed Pete’s preaching. So here he is, my pastor from over a decade ago, Pete Briscoe ….]

Pete Briscoe
Senior Pastor

Bent Tree Bible Fellowship
Carrollton, TX
Frisco, TX
Milwaukee, WI

Current gig (preaching, teaching, etc.) and years at it:
Senior Pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship since 1992.
Even to this day preaching still excites me. I have not lost the wonder!

Who or what made you want to preach:
I come from a family of preachers, my Dad has been preaching for almost 65 years, and my mom has been preaching since I was a young child. I sensed God’s call to ministry on a mission trip to Cebu Island in the Philippines and realized that I had gifting to teach as I subsequently prepared for ministry at seminary.
[Editor’s note: BTW, this makes it the first time a father and his son have been featured on How I Preach! For Stuart Briscoe’s words of wisdom, see here.]

Who are you most indebted to for making you the preacher you are (besides God)?
My Dad has demonstrated the science and awe of preaching, and my Mom the artistry and passion of preaching for as long as I remember. I am indebted to both of them for demonstrating how beautiful preaching can be.

Most used English Bible version?
I preach from the New International Version because it is so readable. It causes me to note disappointing translation decisions in my sermons more than if I were preaching from a more wooden text (New American Standard Bible, for instance), but the fact that people can get the point of the text simply by reading it trumps that inconvenience.

Use of Greek and Hebrew (light/moderate/heavy)?
I use the tools, the technical commentaries, and the language helps in Logos Bible Software, relying for the rest on my fundamental language knowledge.

Current computer(s)/device(s)/software that you use for preaching prep?
I love Logos and use it extensively.

One word that best describes how you prepare to preach:

One word that best describes how you preach:
This is really hard … maybe … “accessible”?

What tools/aids for sermon prep can’t you live without (books? software?)?
I fully utilize all three levels of commentaries:

Technical, for exegetical analysis
Intermediate, for homiletic brainstorming
Popular, for illustration

What does your workspace look like when you are prepping?
During my reading time I usually go to a local coffee shop; the white noise helps me focus.
My work station in my office has a desk that raises or lowers so I can stand or sit.
I do my writing on my computer there.

Illustrations: Where do you go for them and how do you store them?
I read good books, I scan the news apps, and I look for real life happenings over the weekend.
I store everything in Evernote. It has the most robust search engine in the industry and I can send my notes from my iBooks directly in a report to Evernote.
It is incredibly helpful.

Tell us your sermon-prep routine.
I try to fill Monday and Tuesday morning with my critical meetings.
Then Tuesday afternoon I do secondary reading (any reading that is not specifically for that week’s sermon).
Wednesday, all day is set aside for sermon prep: I will do all my exegetical work that day.
Thursday morning is also set aside for prep. I will determine my One Thing, and start to piece together my structure for the message.
I then put my sermon away and do leadership development on Thursday afternoon.
Early Sunday morning I come to the office and do my introduction, conclusion/application and practice, usually around 4 hours of work.

Average numbers of prep hours per sermon?
15–18 hours.

What’s your best time-saving trick?
I work best under a deadline. So leaving my creative work for Sunday morning after having some time off and knowing that 9:00 a.m. is quickly approaching, I am extremely efficient on Sunday morning.
If I didn’t do it this way, my prep time would expand to however many hours I set aside for it and it would be less efficient.
I know not everyone can work this way, but if you are wired like this, it might be helpful.

Any props used regularly in sermons? PowerPoint? Handout?
I have a smart board that I use for drawing illustrations. I am very visual and I think visually, and this helps me convey visual concepts.

No notes/some notes/extensive notes (manuscript)?
I have a leather-bound book with blank pages in it. When I have finished my prep, I have the biblical text and all my notes printed on two-four pages and pasted inside that book.

Who critiques your sermons, beside yourself?
My wife. ☺
And … we have a preaching team that preaches when I am out of the pulpit; they give me great input.
Our elders also periodically give me input, as does the producer of our Sunday experience when we meet for debrief between services.

How has your preaching improved over time?
A couple of years back I read Andy Stanley’s Communicating for Change and Andy really challenged me to think about what a sermon’s structure needs to look like if we truly want to see life change in our listeners.
I decided to try his Me-We-God-You-We structure for a few weeks to see if it helped me do so.
I was blown away at the improvement in my preaching and the change in conversations after my messages (from “great talk Pete” to “Wow, God really said (x) to me this morning, thanks!”).
I’m more willing to take risks and trust the Spirit more in my preaching now that I have a few years under my belt too.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Absolutely nothing … honestly.
I think my specific gifting allows me to effectively take complex biblical concepts and communicate them so anyone can understand. But I don’t think I do that better than anyone else!

What do you listen to while you work?
I have a “classical-music-while-studying” station that I listen to while sermon prepping, and a Bethel Worship station I listen to while doing emails, etc.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I enjoy people but I need alone time to refresh so I am more introverted than people would expect.
I prefer a dinner with Libby and a couple friends over a big party with lots of people I don’t know.

What are you currently reading?
Plowshares and Pruning Hooks by D. Brent Sandy
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne
Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

What do you wish you had learned when you were in seminary?
HR, budgeting, strategic planning ….
But then I think, “That isn’t really what seminaries are about.”
I got a great education form TEDS and I’m grateful.
I had to learn all the other stuff on the job …

Exercise routine? Sleep routine?
I do some form of exercise 4–5 times each week: road biking, swimming, yoga, walking, CrossFit.
And I sleep very solidly on the average about 7 hours per night.

Spiritual disciplines?
I spend time in the Word and am memorizing Scripture for the first time in a long time this year.
I have four “Day with Jesus” times set aside on my calendar where I get away and journal and listen to him.

Favorite food?
I want to live long enough to see my kids raising their own teenagers! ☺
And I want energy for the demanding life I am living so I eat “squeaky clean.”
I eat gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free; I don’t eat fried foods or drink coffee.
Libby eats like this too and so we have learned how to cook delicious meals together that fit our parameters.
My favorite is getting out one of our large iron skillets, pouring some avocado oil, throwing in some lean meat and tons of fresh organic veggies … yum!!

What do you do when you aren’t involved in preaching-related activities?
When my kids were younger I coached them all in basketball, that was a blast!
The last few years I have loved sitting in the stands and watching my boys play high school and college football.
I love to ride horses.
I follow the Packers and Mavericks.
I try to do hobbies, but, it never seems to work ….

Fill in the blank. I’d love to see _______ answer these same questions.
Haddon Robinson.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
(1 Timothy 4:12)

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for asking me Abe, this was fun.
Preaching is an honor and privilege and one that requires undivided attention.
But when the Spirit works through the Word in the words of a preacher to bring life transformation … well, there is simply nothing better!

[For the rest of this series, How I Preach (several months’ worth) see here.]

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