Hope to See You at the 2013 E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference


I am looking forward to the 2013 E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference in Dallas, July 8-11.

This conference was the vision of the late, E.K. Bailey, founding pastor of the Concord Church. Dr. Bailey is the “godfather” of expository preaching among African Americans. Outside of Dr. A. Louis Patterson, Jr., I do not know of any Black pastor/preacher that has pointed more brothers toward Bible exposition than Dr. Bailey.

2carterThe Bailey Conference is now in the capable hands of Pastor Bryan L Carter, who also leads Concord. Under Carter’s capable leadership, the Concord Church is alive and well, and so is this important conference. Bryan Carter is a friend and peer for whom I have the utmost respect. I am proud of all that the Lord is doing in and through him.

There are a lot of conferences on preaching these days. But the Bailey Conference has stood out among African American preachers for its emphasis on Bible exposition. The principles of exposition are taught in this conference and some of the strong preaching voices model it.

This year’s conference will focus on preaching the different genres of scripture. Scripture has different types of literature – history, poetry, proverbs, parables, prophecy, epistles, etc.

Faithful preaching requires that a pastor expose his congregation to these various types of scripture. But care and precision is required in handling the various genres.

During the conference, there will be classes that will help the attendees leave with material to get them started to do consecutive exposition through a particular book or genre. For instance, I am scheduled to teach four sessions on preaching through the Epistle of Philippians. I will introduce the book, overview its contents, and give suggestions for preaching through it, along with general preaching tips.

I am especially excited about the guest speakers this year. One of my preaching heroes, Ralph Douglas West, will preach and teach. So will Robert Smith of Beeson Divinity School and Kevin Smith of Southern Seminary. Steven J. Lawson, one of the best expository preachers in the country, will speak. Other speakers include Bryan Loritts, William Curtis, & E. Dewey Smith.

My biblical convictions have been shaped by the teaching of John F. MacArthur Jr., more than any other man. Having preached through the entire New Testament (and well on his way to completing commentaries on the entire New Testament), MacArthur is rightly the most respected Bible expositor of our time. Since I have followed Dr. MacArthur’s ministry, I have not known him to speak a predominantly African American conference like this (This observation is admittedly from my limited perspective on his ministry work). Yet the influence of his commentaries is wide in our circles. So I am honored to have him speak at this conference and looking forward to his contribution.

Each year, the Bailey Conference honors a “Living Legend” from the Black preaching fraternity. This year, the conference will honor Jasper Williams, Jr. Williams is known for his “whooping,” the melodic way he concludes his sermons. But that is not the feature of his preaching. However, he has truly influenced many by his biblical focus, narrative style, note-free delivery, clear and creative messages. It is right that we say thank you to Pastor Williams for his faithfulness down through the years.

Another preaching “legend,” Donald L. Parson is scheduled to speak at this year’s Living Legends Luncheon.

This should be a great meeting. And I pray that it will be fruitful for all the attendees.

Please pray that the Lord will raise up even more men who are totally committed to rightly handling the word of truth!

Ten Reasons for Expository Preaching by E.K. Bailey

The late Dr. E.K. Bailey, founding pastor of the Concord Church in Dallas, wrote a booklet, entitled, “Ten Reasons for Expository Preaching.”

In this booklet, Dr. Bailey defines expository preaching:

“An expository sermon is a message that focuses on a portion of scripture so as to clearly establish the precise meaning of the text and to poignantly motivate the hearers to actions or attitudes dictated by that text in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Then Bailey gives ten reasons why the church desperately needs expository preaching:

1. Expository preaching creates a Bible-bringing congregation.

2. Expository preaching creates a Bible loving congregation.

3. Expository preaching a Word-conscious congregation.

4. Expository preaching forces the preacher to proclaim the whole counsel of God.

5. Expository preaching arms the people for spiritual warfare.

6. Expository preaching addresses the needs of people, which never occur to the preacher.

7. Expository preaching engenders tremendous interest in what’s coming next (in the text).

8. Expository preaching challenges the spiritual life of the preacher.

9. Expository preaching allows people to hear God’s word and not the preacher’s thoughts.

10. Expository preaching establishes the absolute authority of God’s Word as opposed to situational ethics.


Join the conversation in the comments section. 

An Invitation to the 2012 E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference

Today’s post is a guest post by my friend and brother, Pastor Brian Carter. Brian serves as the Senior-Pastor of the Concord Church in Dallas, one of the great congregations in this country. Brian is also the host and leader of the annual E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference, which will meet in Dallas later this month.

The late Dr. E.K. Bailey is one of my homiletical heroes. Through his example and this conference, the Lord used him to influence many African-American pastors toward expository preaching. Brian and his team are carrying on this great work and taking it to new heights.

The following is a personal invitation to this year’s conference by Pastor Carter.

I want to thank my friend, H.B. for this opportunity to share a guest post on his blog. My name is Bryan Carter and I serve as host for the E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference. H B serves on our advisory council and is a member of our teaching team.

We host a conference with one purpose in mind and that is to assist you in becoming a more effective preacher. We firmly believe preaching is one of the central tenants for life transformation. Effective preaching is the foundation for discipleship and building a healthy church.

Yet in order to be an effective preacher, preachers must develop their skills on an ongoing basis. Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend four hours sharpening my axe.” In the demanding pace in which many of us do ministry, we rarely have time to sharpen our axes for preaching. We preach every Sunday yet rarely find the time to prepare ourselves as preachers rather than preparing sermons.

I want you to strongly consider joining us in Dallas, TX on July 16-19 for four days of investment in your preaching ministry. I can guarantee you that you will walk away as a better preacher. You will be challenged, inspired and trained on enhancing your sermon preparation, development, and delivery.

Our theme this year is “Preaching That Looks Up” based on Exodus 34:4-7. We want to engage this year’s participants to preach with God as the center of their sermons. Preaching today has a tendency to become need driven and pragmatic, yet if we can give our members a greater view of God it will serve them well in every arena of life.

Our presenters include: H B Charles, Matt Chandler, Steve Lawson, Bryan Loritts, Gaylon Clark, Ralph West, Maurice Watson, Robert Smith, Freddie Haynes, Harry S. Wright, Marcus Cosby, A. B. Sutton, Joel Gregory and many others. Our goal is to offer to you a world-class teaching team to assist you throughout the week.

We will offer over 40 classes from the basics of developing a sermon, effective introductions and conclusions, to preaching through a book of the Bible. Additionally we will offer a course on LOGOS, which is the leading Bible software in the world. Between a combination of general sessions, workshops and intensives, you will have an opportunity to go deeper in strengthening your preaching.

As a reader of Pastor Charles blog we are offering a special discounted offer that ends on Monday, July 9 to attend our conference for $285. Space is quickly filling up. Please place the discount HBCharlesJr on your form. You can register at www.concorddallas.org and click on the conferences tab.

Thanks for considering our conference,


Becoming a Better Expositor

I recently received a message from someone who heard me speak at a conference on Bible exposition. He thanked me for my ministry. He also asked a question: What advice would you give to help me become a better expositor?

What a great question!

I am a student of expository preaching, not an expert. But I relish the opportunity to answer questions like this.

My heart’s desire is to be a better preacher. I trust that my preaching is clear and consistent. But I still have much to learn about the great task of Bible exposition.

I pray this will always be my disposition. No preacher should ever feel that he has arrived. We all have weaknesses in our preaching. There are blind spots that you cannot see without trusted people being honest with you; but they are there, nonetheless.

Here is what I would recommend to a preacher – rookie or seasoned – who seeks to become a better expositor.

Start early. There is a difference between what is important and what is urgent. At the beginning of the week, many urgent things claim your attention. All the while, the text for Sunday sits there quietly. You ignore it, until the weekend approaches. Then it becomes urgent and important! Yet you are not able to give it your best, because you are operating on limited time. One practical way to avoid the “Saturday Night Special” syndrome is to start as early as possible.

Read repeatedly. Before you study the text, read it. I mean, really read it. Then read it again. Read it slowly. Read it aloud. Read it from different translations. Read it prayerfully. Read it with expectation that God is speaking in and through the text. Reading the text this way will help you become more familiar with the details and language of it. Moreover, there is great power in simply reading the word of God.

Observe carefully. Bible exposition explains what the text means by what it says. Therefore, proper interpretation is key. So is observation. Interpretation asks, what does it mean? Observation asks, what does it say? Before you rush to determine the meaning of the text, pay attention to what it being said. The tools of observation are a Bible, pen, and paper. Or it may be a Bible and computer. Just read and write what you see. Note the grammar. Look for repeated words. Relate the context. Ask questions. Mark connecting ideas. List words to look up. Make preliminary outlines. I call this process “sanctified brain storming.” When I do it well, it is often the seed that yields fruitful study. The more time you spend in observation, the more it will strengthen your interpretation.

Dig deep. There are no better minds, only better libraries. So consult the best resources available to you. Some will tell you not to put much stock in commentaries. I think this advice is foolish and arrogant. There are men who have spent years studying certain books of the Bible. Their life work has then been placed in commentaries. The least I can do is read their insights. Consider it consulting godly friends for spiritual advice. Some of my best friends are commentators whom I have never met. Some are dead. I read as much as I can – exegetical commentaries, homiletical commentaries, even devotional commentaries. I want to dig as deep as possible, to gain all the insights I can on the text that I can. I milk a lot of cows, and then churn my own butter.

Read widely. For most pastors, it is a challenge to spend the adequate time to study for Sunday, along with all of the other personal and ministerial responsibilities we have. This often crowds out time for personal reading. But there are some things you will never had time for. You must make time for them. Reading is one of them. I am convinced, the more you read in general, the more it will strengthen your pulpit work. Read theology, biography, Christian living, popular books, and even a little mental “junk food.” Read blogs, journals, magazines, and newspapers. Read sermons. Reading widely encourages critical thinking, sharpens your focus, encourages your faith, models good writing, and broadens your perspective.

Write clearly. I am a proponent of writing complete sermon manuscripts, whether you take it to the pulpit or not. I think that our diligent study can result in flat sermons, if we do not write ourselves clear. It is not enough to have an outline and to basically wing it from there. Write yourself clear. Craft your introduction. Work through your transitional sentences. Plan your conclusions. Select meaningful illustrations. Find effective cross-references. Construct compelling sentences. Seek to turn the ear into the eye. Help them to see what you are talking about. Most often, this cannot happen extemporaneously.  It must be prepared beforehand. Strive to prepare a sermon that is worthy of the truth God has taught you from the text.

Pray fervently. Believing prayer should mark your entire study and preparation process. Do not just check in at the beginning of your study time. Pray throughout. Ask for wisdom. Ask God to yield the wisdom of the writers to you. Ask God for understanding, when you get stuck. Ask God to renew your mind and change your heart by what you study. Ask for a way to present it that will arrest the attention of your hearers. Ask for relevant applications for your congregation. Ask God the Holy Spirit grip the hearts of your people. Ask that God would give then increase, as you plant and water the seed. Ask for strength in preaching. Ask God to glorify himself through the proclamation of the word. Remember, it happens after prayer!

What practical advice would you give a pastor who wants to become a better expositor?

Speaking @ the E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference 2011

The E.K. Bailey International Conference of Expository Preaching is taking place this week in Dallas (July 11-14). It is a great week of study, fellowship, and good preaching!

The conference is named after its founder, the late Dr. E.K. Bailey, founding pastor of the Concord Church in Dallas. Dr. Bailey was a noted African-American expositor. And God used his ministry and this conference to introduce many to the principles, tools, and disciplines needed to preach what the text means by what it says.

I was drawn to expository preaching by divine conspiracy. I was hearing preachers, reading books, and having conversations that were all calling me to it. But hearing Dr. Bailey sealed the deal. I walked out of the service after hearing him for the first time and said, “That’s what I want to do.” I was not talking about his style or delivery or anything like that. I was talking about how he simply explained the meaning of the text.

This preaching conference is now lead by my friend, Pastor Bryan Carter, who now leads the Concord Church. In his capable hands, this conference continues to be a premiere meeting on biblical preaching. At the same time, Dr. Sheila Bailey leads the Stand Women’s Conference, and continues to honor the legacy of her late husband with her love for ministering to the word of God to women.

The conference kicked off last night in a great way. Dr. Michael Duduit, editor of Preaching Magazine, lectured on the conference theme – Preaching Under Pressure. It was a very thoughtful, challenging, and encouraging message. Pastor Jeffery Johnson delivered the evening message.

I am scheduled to teach on expository preaching this afternoon, teach and preach Wednesday evening, and teach and participate on in a panel discussion Thursday, along with other commitments. It will be a long week. But I am looking forward to it. May the Lord give me strength.

Crystal is here! She flew in yesterday from Los Angeles, where she and the kids are spending several weeks with family and friends. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to see her. When she arrived, I shaved for the first time since she left!


My brother, Pastor Kevin Willis and his wife, Linda, are here.

Four of my pastoral staff members – B. Perry, D. Beckwith, A. Robinson, and A. Letson – are here.

My pastor from Los Angeles is here. My adopted dad from Oklahoma City is here.

Several of my closest friends from around the country are here.

There are quite of few preachers from both Los Angeles and Jacksonville here.

And this all up and what you get is very little sleep for H.B. Charles, Jr. this week. But I should be a great time of fellowship.

Please remember this meeting in your prayers.