Earl McClellan: How I Preach

 Earl McClellan ShorelineDallas

Earl is the Lead Pastor of Shoreline Dallas. He has been in full-time ministry for 18 years. He and his beautiful wife Oneka with their two handsome boys moved to Dallas to launch Shoreline Dallas Church.  A vibrant church with over 1,000 people who call Shoreline their home. It’s only been three years since the launch and God has been doing amazing things there.  His vision is to see “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

1. Current gigs (preaching, teaching, etc.) and years at it:

I first began preaching consistently (meaning weekly) about 3 years into my vocational ministry life.  I’ve been in FT ministry for 18 years.

2. Most used English Bible version:


3. Use of Greek and Hebrew (light/moderate/heavy):

I would say light.  Though I lean toward moderate.

4. Current computer(s)/device(s):


5. Who or what made you want to preach:

When I was 15/16 years old I had a moment during one of my prayer times where I got the overwhelming sense God wanted me to be a preacher.  I didn’t know all that would mean but I’m glad I said yes to His call.

6. One word that best describes how you prepare to preach:

Dump… I put everything I can think of down on paper. Ideas, thoughts, scriptures, stories, etc.

7. One word that best describes how you preach:

Journey… Let’s take a walk as I share this story about Jesus with you.

8. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?


9. Who are you most indebted to for making you the preacher you are (besides God)?

Rob Koke.  It was under his ministry I got the chance to prepare sermons every week for YEARS.

10. What does your workspace look like when you are prepping?

Journal open (I write my notes out in a sermon journal), computer on, bible open, bible dictionary open, headphones on.

11. What time of the day are you most effective?


12. What’s your sleep routine like?

Bed by 10:30pm and up around 6am.

13. What’s your best time-saving trick?

Make a list and do the most important things first.

14. What do you listen to while you work?

Classical music and worship music

15. Illustrations—where do you go for them and how do you store them?

My brain…I need a better system for this.  If I’m looking for a good illustration I will ask preacher friends.

16. Tell us your sermon-prep routine?

Pray, write down everything that comes to my mind and heart.  After that is done I will check what Spurgeon or other commentaries write about the subject.  Then I go through all my notes and put a mark next to things I feel I’m supposed to say.  I then take those things I’m supposed to say and put them in a sensible flow.

17. Average numbers of prep hours per sermon:


18. Any props used regularly in sermons? Slides? Handouts?

Not used regularly

19. Use of notes (no/some/extensive)?

I have about 3-5 chunks memorized in my head

20. Who critiques your sermon, besides yourself?

Wife. And she’s the best!

21. How has your preaching improved over time?


22. What are you currently reading?


Soul Keeping by John Ortberg.

The One Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan.

23. What do you wish you had learned when you were in seminary?


24. Exercise regimen?

Lift weights 3 days a week.

25. Spiritual disciplines?

Prayer, fasting, reading, journaling, serving

26. Favorite food?

Mac and Cheese

27. What you do when you aren’t involved in preaching-related activities?

Family time

28. Fill in the blank. “I’d love to see ________ answer these same questions.”


29. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t let anyone else build your world for you.  If you do they will always build it too small.  From my mom.

30. What advice would you give a young preacher?

Fall in love with Jesus and embrace humility.

31. What book do you recommend a pastor or preacher to read (Not necessarily preaching related)?

Good to Great by Jim Collins.

5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

31. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

You’re awesome!

32. Where can we find more information about you or listen to your sermons?

iTunes “Shoreline Dallas”

33. How can we connect with you through social media?

@earlmcclellan on Instagram and Twitter