Teresa L. Fry Brown, Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body, and Animation in Proclamation, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2008.

Whether free, or mostly free, from your text, this book can help you explore how to use your voice and body most effectively. With practical voice, diction, and body language exercises it encourage you become the ‘embodied’ presence of your message.

Carmine Gallow,  Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

Kirk Bryon Jones, The Jazz of Preaching: How to Preach with Great Freedom and Joy. Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN. 2004.

This book will lighten your spirit and make you want to turn your sermon into Jazz. Drawing on his experience of teaching seminarians at Andover Newton Theological School, Jones transforms the subject of extemporaneous preaching into a love affair with creativity, sound, rhythm and dreaming.  As he humbly nodes to Howard Thurman who said “I don’t think homiletics can be taught,” he goes on to prove the value of his guide to preaching as Jazz.

Charles W. Koller, How to Preach Without Notes. Bakersbooks, Grand Rapids, MI. 2007.

This is an excellent book that provides a step-by-step approach.

Gail Larsen, Transformational Speaking, iUniverse, Inc. New York: 2007.

This book is an inspiring guide to finding your authentic voice. It is not only filled with valuable “how to do it” information, but equally important it demonstrates the importance of knowing and discovering yourself.

Harry Lorayne, Page a Minute Memory Book. Holt, Rinehart and Winston: NY. 1985.

Fred R. Lybrand, Preaching on Your Feet. B & H Publishing Group: Nashville, TN. 2008.

I have come to appreciate the spirit of this book almost more than any other on this small list.  The theological language Lybrand uses is not my own. But, his well-researched suggestions (including references to Ware, Emerson, Longfellow), his confidence that the Holy Spirit will be with those who can be present in the moment as they speak, and his conviction that joy will come to speaker and audience when they meet heart to heart, brings me back to this valuable resource.

William G.T. Shedd, Chapter 19 “Extemporaneous Preaching” in Homiletics and Pastoral Theology. Bookprint Limited, Kingswood & Crawley: 1867.

William H.Shepherd, Without a Net: Preaching in the Paperless Pulpit. CSS Publishing Company, Inc.: Lima, OH. 2004.

The virtue of this book is that it provides a usable structure for preparation and encourages the reader, and would be practitioner, “to prepare like crazy.”  For those not ready to adopt a completely new way of preparation, Shepard’s approach may be helpful in that it encourages writing the entire sermon and knowing it word for word before delivering it “without a net.” This may also be its greatest weakness.

*Henry Ware Jr. Hints on Extemporaneous Preaching. Dodo Press: UK. 2010. Free download: or, read on Google Books

Ware, Jr. was widely recognized for his pastoral insights and passion for spreading  Unitarianism in radically changing times.  He was also a strong proponent of this style of preaching. This 1826 (second edition) is as relevant and inspiring today as it was when American Unitarians were first given voice.  Its usefulness was acknowledged as late as 1854 when the leading Methodist historian Abel Stevens, lamenting the move to written sermons, sited Ware’s book by saying “even a Unitarian theologian professor (the younger Ware at Harvard) has written an entire book, the best one we have, on the subject.” Henry J. Ripley, professor of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral duties at Newton Theological Institute, praised this book by including it in his widely popular Sacred Rhetoric in 1869.

 Joseph M. Webb, Preaching for the Contemporary Service. Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN. 2006

* Joseph M. Webb, Preaching Without Notes. Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN. 2001.

This book broke some fifty years of silence on the subject by the liberal religious community.  It is clearly written and outlines a practical “how to” approach to preaching extemporaneously.  Webb’s experience as an educator comes through in the simplicity of his suggestions.  He has been a professor both of speech communications and homiletics at Pepperdine University and Claremont School of Theology.

* Of the books on this selected bibliography these two stand out as essential.  They will inspire and instruct both the beginner and experienced extemporaneous preacher.

Prepared by Stephen Shick  (edited 10/29/14)