For only the second time in two decades, Baylor University has released its list of the 12 most “effective” preachers in the English language. It is among the most prestigious honors in the preaching profession — one that has changed the lives of previous recipients. Baylor’s first list was released in 1996 amid much fanfare.
Some of the pastors are religious celebrities, while others are virtual unknowns. What they all share is that they are captivating speakers whose eloquence points toward God, not their own egos, says Shawn Boyd, who works at the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Baylor. Boyd helped form the criteria that 179 scholars referred to while sorting through 1,000 nominees to select the final 12.
“They preach it, they believe it and they live it,” Boyd says of the 12.
I don’t pay attention to this stuff as much as I used to, so I’m only familiar with five on this list.
• The Rev. Alistair Begg, senior pastor at Parkside Church outside Cleveland
• The Rev. Tony Evans, founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas
• The Rev. Joel C. Gregory, holder of the George W. Truett Endowed Chair in Preaching and Evangelism at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas
• The Rev. Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York
• The Rev. Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching and director of the Early Career Pastoral Leadership Program at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta
• The Rev. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago
• The Rev. John Piper, chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis
• The late Rev. Haddon Robinson, former president and the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston
• The Rev. Andy Stanley, founding pastor of North Point Community Church and North Point Ministries near Atlanta.
• The Rev. Charles Swindoll, senior pastor at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas
• The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest, professor, author and theologian who has served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary, Emory’s Candler School of Theology and Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology
• The Rev. Ralph Douglas West, founder and senior pastor of The Church Without Walls in Houston