Baylor Names the 12 Most Effective Preachers

Feb. 28, 1996

WACO, Texas - Baylor University recently named 12 individuals as the most effective preachers in the English-speaking world, according to a worldwide survey.

Each of the 12 preachers will be invited to participate in conferences or to deliver sermons on the Baylor campus during the 1996-97 academic year and to receive the newly created "Baylor Great Preachers" award.

Baylor's desire to examine the nature of effective preaching is drawn from its traditional relationship with Baptist churches, its commitment to preparing ministry students and the opening last year of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, according to Dr. Larry Lyon, professor of sociology at Baylor, who coordinated surveys to determine the most effective preachers.

Lyon and Dr. Glenn Jonas of Campbell University designed two separate surveys. The first sought to determine the qualities of an effective preacher, and the second determined who best incorporates those qualities in their preaching ministry.

"In some respects, the definition of what is effective preaching is just as important as the determination of who is the most effective," Lyon said.

The first survey was mailed to homiletics professors asking them to describe the qualities associated with effective preaching. The responses were compiled and grouped into seven broad categories. These categories were the basis of the second survey used to nominate the most effective preachers.

A total of 341 seminary professors and editors of religious periodicals responded to the second mail-out survey, and they nominated 1,548 preachers as the most effective preachers. The top 12 names are:

* The Rev. Walter J. Burghardt S.J., is senior fellow of the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C. He has been president of the American Theological Society, managing editor of Theological Studies, Theologian-in-Residence at Georgetown University, and he has written numerous books and articles on preaching.

* Dr. Fred Craddock is the Bandy Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament, emeritus, in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He has served pastorates in Tennessee and Oklahoma and has lectured and published extensively on preaching the gospel.

* Dr. James Forbes is the senior minister of the Riverside Church in New York City. He is the first African-American minister to serve a pastorate of one of the largest multicultural congregations in the nation. The Riverside Church is a 2,400 member church affiliated with American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ. Before coming to Riverside in 1989, he pastored in Richmond Va., and Wilmington, N.C., and has served at Union Theological Seminary and Auburn Theological Seminary.

* The Rev. Billy Graham now works through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Ordained in 1940 by the Southern Baptist Convention, he has led crusades throughout the world and conducts his ministry through weekly radio programs, television specials, a newspaper column, Decision magazine, and World Wide Pictures. Graham is regularly listed by the Gallup organization of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World" and has appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Life.

* Dr. Thomas Long is the Francis Landey Patton Professor of Preaching and Worship at Princeton Theological Seminary. He began his professional career as a Presbyterian pastor in Atlanta but has served on the faculty at various seminaries for the last 20 years. Long is the editor of Theology Today and senior homiletics editor of the New Interpreter's Bible. He has written many books and articles on preaching, including "Beavis and Butt-Head Get Saved."

* The Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie is chaplain of the U.S. Senate and pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, Calif. He hosts a nationally syndicated radio and television program, "Let God Love You." Ogilvie has authored numerous books and articles on preaching and is general editor of the 32-volume Communicator's Commentary.

* Dr. Haddon Robinson is the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Previously, he had served as president of the Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary and a professor of homiletics at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society and has written a number of

works on preaching, including Biblical Preaching, which is currently used at more than 100 seminaries and Bible colleges.

* Dr. John R. Stott is rector emeritus at All Souls Church in Langham Place, London, and president of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. He was chaplain to the Queen between 1959 and 1991 and currently serves as extra chaplain. Stott is president of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship and has initiated a strong and continuing third world ministry. He has written extensively on biblically-based preaching.

* Dr. Charles Swindoll is president of the Dallas Theological Seminary. He has held pastorates in Dallas and Irving, Texas; Waltham, Mass.; and Fullerton, Calif. Swindoll's ministry is shared internationally through numerous books and articles as well as an extensive cassette tape distribution system and daily radio broadcast, "Insight for Living." He was honored as Clergyman of the Year by the Religious Heritage of America.

* The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor is rector at Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church, Clarkesville, Ga. Previously she spent nine years in urban ministry at All Saints' Church in Atlanta, Ga. She has taught at Candler School of Theology, the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, McCormick Seminary and the College of Preachers in Washington, D.C. She has written four books, including The Preaching Life and Gospel Medicine, and serves on the editorial board of the Living Pulpit.

* Dr. Gardner C. Taylor is pastor emeritus at Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY. He has lectured on preaching at Colgate University, Harvard University, Yale University and seminaries across the nation. Gardner has been called "the dean of the nation's black preachers" by Time, "one of the greatest preachers in American History" in Ebony, and "the greatest preacher living, dead or unborn" in The Christian Century.

* Dr. William Willimon is dean of the chapel and professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University. He preaches each Sunday in the Duke Chapel and directs the campus ministry programs at Duke. He was named the first Distinguished Alumnus of the Yale Divinity School and serves on the editorial boards of The Christian Century, Pulpit Digest, Preaching, The Wittenburg Door and Leadership. He has written 37 books, including What's Right With the Church and Worship as Pastoral Care. His Pulpit Resource is used weekly by more than 8,000 pastors in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

For more information, call Lyon at (817) 755-3811.

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