Joel Gregory faces an awesome task: to be only the third pastor this century of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. A church with 29,000 members and 7,000 in attendance each Sunday. A church that is the largest landowner in downtown Dallas (five city blocks). A church with a payroll bigger than most churches have members (400). A church where he follows two of the greatest expositors of this century: George W. Truett (pastor from 1897-1944) and W. A. Criswell (pastor from 1944-1991 and now senior pastor).
While that awesome task may be unique, he faces another awesome task that he shares with thousands of pastors: to preach the Word faithfully and effectively. LEADERSHIP editors Brian Larson and Marshall Shelley sat down with Joel Gregory in his second floor office and talked about preaching and following a great preacher.
Many people remark that your sermons are well-crafted, that they're an art form. Is that something you consciously strive for?
I spend a lot of time on a sermon's ...1