Not sure what to put on your Christmas list this year?
We've put together a list of some of the most inspiring gifts for preachers—created by preachers. These gifts will not only make sermon prep more enjoyable, they'll encourage fresh insights to the benefit of listeners.
Gift yourself, or share this post with those who ask what you'd like this Christmas.
Here's what we're putting on our list:
#10) Gift Certificates to the Movies
Every leader needs time to forget about the cares of work and enjoy life outside the office. So head to the theater with friends or family. You'll connect with loved ones and refresh your mind. Bonus: preachers are storytellers, and there's much to be learned from stories told on the big screen.
Your ministry will thank you! (See #9)
Star Wars, anyone?!
#9) A Book that Will Help You Become More Productive—Through Rest
Need to justify taking time off to go the movies, pray, go on retreat, or quit thinking about work at the end of the day? This is the book for you! This engaging read offers both scientific studies and plenty of anecdotal evidence to prove we do our best work by taking time off.
What's not to love?
#8) A Whimsical, Illustrated Bible to Make Study More Fun
NIV Beautiful Word Bible *by Zondervan Press
See Scripture in a new way. Check out this lovely and inspiring version by Zondervan Press. With 500 full-color illustrated verses and right hand margins lined for your notes, bible study has never been so much fun!
#7) A Great Set of Earbuds or Headphones
The better to listen to audio sermons, my dear!
Preachers need to listen to great sermons not only to get the sound of good sermons into our ears, but also to fill our own souls. You'll find great audio sermons at www.day1.org, for instance, or google your favorite preacher and subscribe to their sermons.
Earbuds let you listen anywhere! Learn from the greats as you walk the dog, cook dinner, or fly to your next conference. You'll be amazed at what you absorb by listening to the greats.
#6) REgistration to Attend The Festival of Homiletics
Theme for 2018: "Preaching and Politics"
If your congregation wants to give you a terrific Christmas gift, ask them to send you to the Festival of Homiletics. The largest annual preaching conference in the U.S., this time will nourish and inspire you with great preaching while improving your craft with lectures taught by some of the best preaching professors in the country.
Held May 21-25, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
If you go, don't forget to stop by the Backstory Preaching® table in the Exhibit Hall!
#5) High Quality Coffee- or Tea-Makers for Your Office
I love to offer guests a great cup of coffee or tea. It's a simple gesture of hospitality that tells someone they matter enough to give them "the good stuff." Not to mention, our days are more pleasant with the "good stuff" too!
#4) "Hope Tea" from Thistle Farms
Speaking of the good stuff, I'm hooked on Thistle Farms's "Hope Tea" (and not because of the caffeine!). This is one of the most delicious, loose-leaf teas I've ever had. Better yet, Thistle Farms was founded by the Rev'd Becca Stevens to empower women who have survived abuse, so when you buy their products, you support the women Thistle Farms helps to heal.
Here's Thistle Farms' description:
"Hope Tea is a social enterprise that partners with local Ugandan tea growers to support the Friends of Canon Gideon Foundation (FOCAGIFO) in providing holistic education to vulnerable youth in Uganda who face challenges such as poverty, high incidences of HIV and AIDS, unemployment, and socially sanctioned violence."
#3) Help Confronting the Difficult Reality of Racism
Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism, *by Will Willimon (Abingdon Press, 2017)
I haven't read this book yet, but it's high on my list.
Racism is one of the most pervasive and insidious sins of our nation, and preachers need many tools to confront it so listeners can participate in the healing God desires for our nation. Consider this description of the book:
"By hearing black pain, naming white complicity, critiquing American exceptionalism/civil religion, inviting/challenging the church to respond, and attending to the voices of African American pastors and leaders, this book helps pastors of white, mainline Protestant churches preach effectively in situations of racial violence and dis-ease" (emphasis mine).
Although I know it's going to be a hard read because I'm going to find myself described in ways I don't want to face, I still can't wait to dive into this one.
#2) Reproductions of the Gorgeous, Hand-Crafted St. John's Bible
The St. John's Bible *(The Liturgical Press. Multiple volumes and years.)
The St. John's Bible is the first bible to be created by hand in five hundred years. This bible was commissioned by St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and it took more than a decade for the Queen of England's calligrapher, Donald Jackson, to envision, plan, and oversee the creation of this magnificent work. The vellum, ink, quills, font, calligraphy and art were all created painstakingly and lovingly by extraordinary artisans.
And now you can get a taste of the artistry! The seven volumes of The St. John's Bible—plus stand-alone art work and smaller books excepted from the original—have been reproduced with a unique and high-quality printing process. Ask for one volume each year until you have all seven!
This is the way every bible ought to be created and appreciated.
#1) A Handheld Pen Scanner
It gets tiresome to type notes and references I want to keep! Number one on my Christmas list this year is a handheld pen scanner like the C-Pen.* It promises not only to scan text, but for those with dyslexia, read it aloud, too. I read lots of reviews and this one ranks consistently at the top.
I hope whatever you find under your Christmas tree will feed you and your listeners all year long. Perhaps you might even give yourself or a gift or two. After all, it's a gift for your congregation, too!
Of course, we happen to think courses from Backstory Preaching are the gifts that keep on giving—to preachers and their congregants.
Purchase one of our eCourses or sign up for Christmas Sermon Bootcamp to learn a new process that will revitalize sermon prep and inspire a new preaching perspective.
Wanting to gift a course to the preacher in your life?
*Backstory Preaching® is an Amazon.com affiliate and receives a (very) small percentage of the sale on these products when purchased through our website. Thank you for your help to support our ministry to help you spread the Gospel ever more effectively.