Sermon preparation

THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION: A PREACHING PREPARATION TOOL FOR DEACON FORMATION IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SEATTLE

Author
William W. Eckert D.Min.
Abstract
THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION:
A PREACHING PREPARATION TOOL FOR DEACON FORMATION
IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SEATTLE

Eckert, William W., MAPS, DMin, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2021.
Chapter One begins to address an issue with preaching that does not fully integrate the experiences of the community with the Word of God. The chapter covers a brief overview of liturgical preaching, the problem with creating grounded preaching, and the unique qualities of deacons as liturgical preachers in addressing this problem with the guidance of theological reflection.

Chapter Two introduces theological reflection as practical theology and a preaching preparation tool that encourages a dialogue between human experience and Church Traditions (Sacred Scripture, liturgy, beliefs, and teachings).

Chapter Three offers adult education and curriculum development to teach theological reflection as an effective tool of preaching preparation.

Chapter Four explores the current state of preaching within the Archdiocese of Seattle. It includes a summary of conversations with the homiletics and theological reflection instructors in the current deacon formation program. Then, the chapter presents the heart of the project: creating a new unit for the homiletics curriculum in the deacon formation program in collaboration with a small cohort of diocesan deacons.

Chapter Five presents the final version of the new unit for the homiletics program, which was presented to the Archdiocese of Seattle (the Vicar of Clergy, the Director of the Deacon Formation Program, and the homiletics instructor).

SACRAMENTAL IMAGINATION: A LUTHERAN APPROACH TO THE ANALOGICAL/DIALECTICAL DIVIDE IN PREACHING

Author
Todd Arthur Peperkorn D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis answers the question of whether there can be a Lutheran sacramental imagination for preaching. It begins with an overview of the history of preaching in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), especially since the move into English in the 1920s. This history traces how the LCMS has largely adopted the New Homiletic, but has not reflected critically on how its own theological hermeneutic integrates with the New Homiletic, and what relationship this may have to sacramental preaching.

Beginning with definitions of a dialectic imagination and a sacramental/ analogical imagination from David Tracy and Mary Catherine Hilkert, it examines the roots of the sacramental imagination in the works of Edward Schillebeeckx, particularly his early book, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God. It then compares this with the writings of Richard Eslinger, Hans Boersma, and Graham Hughes.

Next the thesis attempts to reconcile a sacramental imagination with a Lutheran hermeneutic. The most successful attempt for this has been in the writing and work of Lutheran Gordon Lathrop. While there are some concerns regarding a dialectic counterbalance, a Lutheran sacramental imagination that takes both the distinction of Law and Gospel and the place of grace begins to emerge.

The ministerial intervention was a seminar for a group of pastors from the LCMS. It involved questionnaires, sermons, and interviews both before and after the seminar. The seminar included modeling sacramental preaching and taught the practice of “Preaching Partners” as a way of connecting the preacher to the the congregation.

It concludes by determining that more work needs to be done on defining a Lutheran sacramental imagination, that Preaching Partners is an excellent method for building both pastoral relationships and in creating a collaborative spirit in preaching, and that Lutherans will benefit from more interaction with non-Lutheran preaching and scholarship.

Enhancing Doctrinal Preaching to Increase Congregational Awareness of the Doctrine of Local Church membership at First Baptist Church, Chickasha, Oklahoma

Author
Michael Butler
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to enhance doctrinal preaching skills to increase congregational awareness of the doctrine of local church membership at First Baptist Church, Chickasha, Oklahoma. The project progressed through three phases: research, writing, and preaching. By researching the field of doctrinal preaching, the director identified a list of five best practices of doctrinal preaching. The director then employed these practices in writing a series of four sermons on the doctrine of local church membership. After writing the sermons, the director preached the sermon series at FBC. A pre-test and post-test assessment demonstrated the sermons increased awareness of the importance of the doctrine of local church membership among the project's participants.

"Hearing Habakkuk: Lessons on Accurately Applying the Text From the Turkana, Kenya Context"

Author
Graham Robert Blaikie D.Min.
Abstract
One of Jesus’ favorite sayings, “He who has ears, let him hear,” highlights the divine expectation that the message heard must be heeded—it has to be applied.

“Application” refers to the requirements of the biblical text, and our obedient response to those requirements. Accurate application, therefore, involves “hearing”/heeding what the text requires of us today—but only after we have heard what it required of the original recipients.

This project seeks to explore what constitutes accurate application from within the context of the book of Habakkuk, which a group of Turkana pastors were focusing on in their Bible Pathways training program held at Share International’s SEND Center in Lodwar, Kenya, in July 2017. Habakkuk was the eighth of nine Pathways preaching modules taught to the Turkana pastors over a three-year period by a team of six U.S.-based pastors, including the project writer.

While excellent in many ways, the Pathways curriculum is weak in application. And so, the book of Habakkuk and Turkana provided an excellent context in which to formulate and then test four principles of application.

The project includes a focus on the original applicational intent of the author—a topic that has received minimal treatment in the literature on application. It also explores the significance of what we have termed the “applicational trajectory” of the text (best seen in the distinct applications of Habakkuk 2:4 in its three appearances in the New Testament). It examines the current debate on deriving principles from the text. And it looks at how these principles might be contextualized to Turkana.

The project fieldwork includes observations as and discussions after the Turkana pastors preached, a quiz, presentation of a two-day a seminar titled “Principles of Application from Habakkuk,” a follow-up focus group, and personal interviews.

Preaching Beyond the Hedges: A Psycho-Social and Spiritual Exegesis of University Students as a Resource for the Campus Preacher

Author
RAYMOND C COOK D.Min.
Abstract
Community exegesis is gaining interest among preachers as a means to communicate the Word of God to a particular group, time, and location. The work of Lenora Tubbs Tisdale and her study of communal exegesis marks a significant influence on this interest. The Second Vatican Council also calls upon the preacher to utilize language to tailor the Word of God for the listener. Relying on the study of social location and combining that effort with psychological, social, and spiritual disciplines, preachers engage concepts that aid in the exegesis of today’s university students. This study demonstrates that exegeting the Scriptures and the community is beneficial to the psycho-spiritual cognitive development of students.
This thesis examines disciplines that equip preachers to exegete the university student community, thereby contributing to a better preaching event. To that end, the first chapter describes the importance of studying the historical and observable social location in which the students are living. The second chapter treats psychological stage development and current struggles that today’s undergraduates are experiencing. The third chapter considers two specific research methods and ways that preachers might implement them. These research methods uncover the language of university students, as reflected in conversations with focus groups. The fourth chapter examines the fruits of Emmaus Walks that lead towards Paschal Preaching, and the witness that university students give when preaching moves into action. The preacher also calls to mind the role of the Holy Spirit in creating a preaching event. The conclusion highlights the benefits of this thesis as an exegetical resource, suggesting that preachers can preach more effectively to students on their campuses by gaining knowledge of the social location, updating their understanding of proposed theories of psychological stage development, using a variety of research methods, and intentionally journeying with the students.

SUSTAINING A TRAINING MOVEMENT IN EXPOSITORY PREACHING IN TURKANA, KENYA

Author
Gary Kirst D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project pertains to work that has been done in Turkana, Kenya, through the mission Share International, in training indigenous Turkana pastors in expository preaching using the curriculum called Bible Pathways (developed by Alan Lewis, Director of Pastoral Training, ReachGlobal/EFCA). This curriculum focuses on a hermeneutical method which first asks of any given text of Scripture: what did this mean to the original readers? And then, especially in light of the Bible’s salvation story, it asks: how should this text be preached to hearers today? This curriculum is very heavy on individual and group participation in interpreting and preparing to preach biblical texts.

The writer worked with a team of six other American pastors to train 14 Turkana pastors in this curriculum from 2015-2017. This project especially focuses on evaluating the transmittal of this curriculum: the training this first generation of graduates has done with a second generation. Through questionnaires, personal in-depth interviews, and follow-up conversations, it was found that all participants had indeed engaged in rigorous attempts at training a second generation. Their many joys and challenges were catalogued.

As this training movement would proceed into the future, with the hope of the Lord filling this spiritually and physically barren desert land with healthy, Word-based churches, led by men committed to preaching the whole counsel of God, the writer, at the request of the Turkana participants, has developed a companion Trainer’s Manual to go alongside the Bible Pathways curriculum. This manual particularly provides many specific examples of sound interpretation, something that is lacking in the printed curriculum, and was anticipated by the participants, who are now trainers themselves, to be very helpful in their ongoing training.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

Proclaiming the gospel from Old Testament war narratives

Author
Eli H. Dowell
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine how preachers proclaim the Gospel from Old Testament war narratives. The study utilized a basic qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six Gospel-centered preachers. Four research questions guided the data analysis, addressing challenges presented by culture and theology and what methods preachers use to overcome these challenges. The findings of the study show that Old Testament war narratives are essential components of the meta-narrative of Scripture, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The study concluded with several examples of Gospel-centered interpretations of select passages from the book of Joshua.

Sensitizing the Preacher for a Multi-Religious Context in the Diocese of Palayamkottai in India

Author
Anto Peterraj D.Min.
Abstract
The multi-religious context in which India preaching has to adorn herself with the garb of sensitivity is the backdrop of this thesis. Against this backdrop the author proposes that a preacher can be trained to appeal to the cognitive, emotive, spiritual, and psychological aspects of the listeners for a transformed life interpreting Christian Scripture and Tradition in the multi-religious pastoral context of India in general and of the Diocese of Palayamkottai in particular. The thesis is divided into five chapters.

Chapter One, after spelling out the background, the need, the process, and the scope of the study, sets the context of the Diocese of Palayamkottai with a special reference to religious pluralism in India in general and in Palayamkottai in particular.

In Chapter Two, after briefly analyzing the homiletical understanding before Pope Francis in the light of General Introduction of the Roman Missal and Verbum Domini, we meet the two dialogue partners of our study from the viewpoint of effective proclamation of the Gospel and embracing different traditions with respect, viz., Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, and Bede Griffiths’ Sannyasa.

Chapter Three divides into three sections: In section one, the challenges that a preacher, a preaching, and a listener face in a multi-religious context are presented; section two proposes models (participatory, narrative sermon reflected in the life of the preacher) for a better preaching in multi-religious background, while section three will try to resolve the challenges in the light of the proposed model.

In Chapter Four a sampling study is done by picking up seven preachers.

Chapter Five is a practical guide that will serve as a manual for a preacher offering different models of preaching.

Enhancing the Project Director's Collaborative Preaching Skills to Improve Sermon Planning at Christview Christian Church, Southaven, Mississippi

Author
Victor Ray Lyons
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to enhance the project director's collaborative preaching skills in order to improve sermon planning at Christview Christian Church in Southaven, Mississippi. The project director used the Preaching Skills Enhancement Model to design the project. He began by researching the current trends in collaborative preaching and sermon preparation. Based on this research, he developed a process for sermon preparation that included collaborative skills. The director studied the effectiveness of this process by developing six sermons with a sermon-planning team of selected elders and lay leaders from Christview Christian Church. The six sermons and their preparation were evaluated by the sermon-planning team in order to determine the effectiveness of collaborative preaching skills on sermon planning.
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