Stuart Briscoe: How I Preach

April 15th, 2014| Topic: aBeLOG, How I Preach | 2

Stuart Briscoe: How I Preach

Stuart Briscoe: And this is How I Preach

[Stuart and I shared a pulpit a few months ago at Moody Bible Institute’s Founder’s Week in Chicago. There, I persuaded him to let us in on his preaching techniques and schemes. The man has been preaching for almost seven decades. And he’s still going strong, teaching the Bible across oceans and on every continent, after having pastored Elmbrook Church, in Brookfield, Wisconsin, the largest church in that state, for thirty years! A man of charm and wit, his is a voice of wisdom I am happy to invite you to listen to.]

D. Stuart Briscoe
Minister-at-Large, Elmbrook Church, Brookfield, Wisconsin
Itinerant Preacher, Everywhere
Radio Teacher, Telling the Truth

Current gig (preaching, teaching, etc.) and years at it:
For eleven years I was in itinerant preaching.
Then for thirty years I served as Senior Pastor of Elmbrook.
The last thirteen years, I have been intinerating worldwide again.

Most used English Bible version:
English Standard Version for study.
New International Version for preaching.

Use of Greek and Hebrew (light/moderate/heavy):

Software used:

Who or what made you want to preach:
I grew up in a British Brethren Assembly where I was “expected “ to preach by the time I was seventeen.

One word that best describes how you prepare to preach:

One word that best describes how you preach:

Who are you most indebted to for making you the preacher you are (besides God)?
Various preachers including my father Stanley Briscoe, Ian Thomas, Stephen Olford, Alan Redpath, and John Stott.

What tools/aids for sermon prep can’t you live without?
Over more than sixty years I’ve built up quite a library that I draw from constantly, in order to live in the environment of the Book. But pastoral work among people keeps me grounded in the world where folks really live. So, as John Stott said, I live “between two worlds.”

What does your workspace look like when you are prepping?

Illustrations: Where do you go for them and how do you store them?
I walk around this fascinating world with eyes wide open, and ears unstopped, filled with curiosity. And I store between my ears what I see/hear/experience.

Average numbers of prep hours per sermon:
Never counted them.

What’s your best time-saving trick?
“Do it now!”

What time of the day are you most effective?
Morning, noon, and night!

Tell us your sermon-prep routine?
When I was a pastor, I planned a series in outline about three months ahead. Then on the Sunday evening, the week before preaching, I would start reading the passage in various versions. This enabled me to be “marinating” the text while busy with pastoral duties on Monday. Tuesday, I stayed home where I keep my study (separate from my office at church). Wednesday morning, likewise. By noon Wednesday, I submitted an outline to be printed. Saturday morning, I filled in illustrations (gathered during the weekly activities), and created an intro and conclusion. Saturday evening, preached the sermon for the first time, noodled it overnight, and then repeated it three times on Sunday morning.

Any props used regularly in sermons? PowerPoint? Handout?
Handout. And voice, gesture, movement, action.

No notes/some notes/extensive notes (manuscript)?
I use an outline, but by the third time through, I do it without notes.

Who critiques your sermon, besides yourself?
My wife, my kids, and everybody else who feels they have ten cents worth of insight.

How has your preaching improved over time?
It has mellowed.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Being me.

What do you listen to while you work?
The silence.

What are you currently reading?
Christopher Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative.

What do you wish you had learned when you were in seminary?
I never did go to seminary.

Exercise routine? Sleep routine?
Typical eighty-year-old’s routine, if you can call it that.

Favorite food?
Roast beef of Olde England.

What you do when you aren’t involved in preaching-related activities?
Read. Walk. Sleep.
Watch Manchester United.
Chase thirteen grandkids.

Fill in the blank. I’d love to see _____ answer these same questions.
Apostle Paul.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Stand up to be seen.
Speak up to be heard.
Shut up to be appreciated.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I need to take the last piece, the third line, of the advice above.

[For the archives of this series, How I Preach, see here.]


  1. Eric Fan April 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Wow, he is still preaching! I had the pleasure listening to him when he visited our church in Ithaca, New York decades ago. The biggest impression I had was his pleasure in preaching. While preaching may be hard work for others, he clearly enjoyed doing it. Perhaps that is a reason why he can keep going and going; preaching is so much a part of him.


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