This month’s copy of Preaching Magazine arrived a week or so ago and Billy Graham made the cover for a story in which Michael Diduit names 25 of the most influential Preachers of the last 25 years. The article has also been published at Sermon Central for you to read.
There are several names on the list who have made a significant impact on my own life and ministry. Some have shaped my view of preaching, others have shaped my view of life. Of note…
#1, Billy Graham
Very few men in history have had the heart for a lost world that Dr. Graham has. He inspires me to continually join Jesus’ mission to seek and to save that which was lost.
#2, Charles Swindoll
Dr. Swindoll has a classic, golden voice. He can pronounce “Mesopotamia” and move an audience to laugh and cry. But even more is his reverence for Scripture and for the pulpit that have shaped me.
#3, Rick Warren
A decade ago, I traveled with my father-in-law to Saddleback Church where Rick presented a conference on preaching. My own approach to preaching forever changed in that I began to seek transformation of lives instead of a mere presentation of information.
#6, Adrian Rogers
Dr. Rogers was a master of the sermon outline and flow. His style was very simple but his sermons were highly memorable. He was quite systematic and thousands were influenced by Him, including me.
#8, Andy Stanley
About five years ago, I read Andy’s book Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication (aff link). My preaching was changed again in that I began to focus on communicating a single major truth in every message for greater impact.
#10, W. A. Criswell
Perhaps no Pastor has had a greater influence on my ministry (from a distance, that is) than W. A. Criswell. My beliefs about the inerrancy of Scripture, my expository approach to preaching, and my heart for ministry have been heavily fueled by Dr. Criswell’s own ministry in Dallas.
#23, Warren Wiersbe
Dr. Wiersbe and Adrian Rogers shared a similar systematic style of presenting the Scriptures. His commentaries, more than his preaching itself, have been a constant guide in my own preparation time.
There are plenty of other men on the list who have garnered my respect, but these are worth noting and sharing. One of my own fears is that an up-and-coming generation of young and zealous leaders (which I celebrate) will launch into ministry with big dreams and visions (and more power to them!), but they will lack a connection with these great men of God, which would be a serious error. The greatest churches are yet to be built, I hope, but we build on the shoulders of giants.