I received a review copy of this book from B and H Academic I don't have to give a positive review.
Dr Pace's aim is set out on the front cover, Developing and Delivering Text Driven Sermons, it's a very short book. It's shorter than I imagined it to be, some of the reviews suggest it is a useful book for beginning preachers and for seasoned preachers. I agree it is useful for the beginner with many handy tips and as someone in between I definitely found lots of useful tips. Not sure how useful this will be to the seasoned preacher though.
One of the first ones I liked was Dr Pace urges us to ditch our 'familiar outline' instead of following the pattern set out in the text itself . He rightly says, 'the structure of the sermon should mirror the literary structure of the passage.' p11 Similarly he reminds us 'The Bible includes a variety of literary genres that require the reader to identify the type of writing in order to interpret it accurately.' p.26 We must be prepared to let the genre of the text dictate the structure of the sermon.
Like John Stott, Dr Pace argues that preaching is dialogue rather than monologue, 'our preaching should be characterized by a conversational style that is clear and personal. This acknowledges the spiritual reality of the ongoing dialogue between God and his people as his Spirit speaks to hearts through the Scriptures.'
Another useful reminder Dr Pace offers us that we need to be careful when presenting our own vulnerabilities that we don't over do this, 'while this may be helpful and our openness can help facilitate transparency in our congregations, frequent examples of our failures can begin to erode our credibility as God's spokesman.' Going on to say, 'it can begin to undermine the gospel if our frequent and familiar failures unintentionally call into question' The Gospel's 'effectiveness to redeem, renew and restore our brokenness.' I thought this was such an excellent point and something to be aware of.
Dr Pace says as we prepare we should causally read the text completely. I'd use a different term, but I know what he means but we should never read the Scriptures causally. I'd agree with each step he offers in preparation.
The bit that I thought was disappointing was the final chapter, which I thought was going to be about the sermon conclusion but was actually about appeals. I've never seen appeals done well, to me they seem we are doing the Spirit's work for Him. These don't come out of the text itself.
That said this is a useful introduction to preaching and worth the couple of hour investment to read it.