Donald Cantrell has been a preacher of the gospel since 1980. His goal in writing books is to be helpful to ministers who may need a simple thought to prompt them in developing a mighty message. His hope is to be practical, preachable, and accessible to the busy and pressured pastor.
In addition to preaching and writing, Donald has been active in personal sermon consulting and research, offering help with individual sermon development, subject research, Bible character studies, and sermon series. He has also helped various pastorates with the leading of revivals.
When he released Bible Commentary Snapshots to WORDsearch, we talked with the Florida Gators fan about his alliteration style, preaching, and his writing process.
WORDsearch: Where did you get the idea for this series?
Donald Cantrell: I have people contact me all the time from around the world, asking for advice. I like mentoring and helping people, that’s the primary goal. In the SBC in Georgia, the high majority of people are bivocational, and me doing this can help save them time.
I’ve always developed sermons and done alliteration, but then I started thinking what I wanted to do was come up with something catchy that would give a pastor or preacher something they could take straight to the puplit or develop into a full sermon on their own. I really liked the term “sermon snapshots.” I thought about it for a few days and really think it describes the material I create for a preacher.
WS: What would you say is different in this work from your other works?
DC: This one I will try to do every verse in the New Testament and make sure every verse has an outline, or part of an outline, and that it’s alliterated. So far I’ve got Matthew- Acts, and I just got done with 50 Christmas snapshots.
WS: What is your process in creating content? How do you get started?
DC: My main process is to first read the Scripture and then I like to think about it. Then I do my three or four main points, alliterate them, but very simply. Then I try to develop my main thoughts. Here’s how I look at it: I look at it like at first minimum alliteration, then once I have my main thoughts I go back and change and adapt it, then when it’s all said and done, my whole outline is all done, and I have what I call maximum alliteration. Alliteration is my thing, I’ve always been able to do it once I’ve started.
WS: How do you choose the verses or topics you cover?
DC: Well, I’m a pastor and I design sermons for my church also. If I get into something I really like at my church, I might just make a whole series out of it and offer it to pastors.
WS: How do you come up with your sermons?
DC: I like to do expository preaching, going through a book verse-by-verse, so that helps me a lot. That way I’m not just trying to come up with sermons, because if I know I’m preaching through a certain book, I know I’m going to have to have a sermon on that book on Sunday. Exposition with alliteration is my style.
WS: How often or long do you write each day?
DC: I write every day, and I have a process that I use. I read Scripture and if I want to develop a sermon, I use my computer now. I used to use a big ink pen with four colors, and I’ve got boxes of sermons with colored sermon outlines with a different color for each point. Then I adapted to the computer and now I’ve got all of that on the computer and have embraced it. I use Strong’s, my Bible, and a tool for alliteration.
WS: What’s your favorite Bible commentary?
In my ministry, I’ve had a lot of preachers ask this, and what I tell all of them is J. Vernon McGee’s Commentaries. What I like about him is that he covers every chapter, and they are simple and practical. I’m just simple and I just like simple stuff. But if I had to get rid of all my books in my library and keep one set it would be his.
WS: What is your favorite Bible translation?
I’m old school, I love the KJV just because I like the terminology and poetry, but I read a lot of different versions. I like the ESV, I don’t preach from it, but I study from it a lot. The reason I stick with the KJV is because it’s what I read when I was younger and what I memorized, so I’m familiar with it and just stuck with it over the years.
Donald resides in Georgia with Denise, his wife of 35 years, and spends a lot of time with his grandbaby Kinsley.