Go Preach by John Gilbert
This book is an excellent "beginners" guide to preparing a worship service, paying particular attention on the message or sermon.
The author begins by examining a little history and theology of preaching and what preaching really should be like, which is not necessarily what you hear on Sunday mornings anymore unfortunately. In fact, Gilbert devotes a chapter to the (correct) idea of the sermon as a proclamation of the Good News, not just story time as is so often the case today.
Gilbert dedicates a chapter each to the initial preparation of the sermon, knowing about the congregation you are to preach to, and a more in depth look at sermon preparation as well as the use of the lectionary.
The author also has several chapters of topics such as: grammar, humor, practicing the sermon, and evaluating your preaching. Gilbert gives information about the actual delivery of the sermon and what to do afterward, such as, silent prayer or an alter call.
Finally, the author closes with ways of getting ideas for new sermons and a chapter on special occasion preaching, such as, funerals, weddings, baptisms, and so on. At the end of the book the author lists several other helpful books for a preacher to have in his collection.
Overall, this was an excellent book for the beginning preacher. I didn't agree with everything the author had to say though. For example, Gilbert writes "Do not wear white socks" (page 89). I wear white socks all the time and do not believe it detracts from the message at all!
Gilbert did get the main point of preaching across and that is to proclaim the Word of God! "Preaching is first and always the proclamation of God's Word" (page 12).
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their preaching skills.