Can You Hear Me Now?: Preaching for Adolescents

Full Title
Can You Hear Me Now?: Preaching for Adolescents
Adolescents are the vigor of the Church today and the hope of the Church tomorrow. Young people in the world and in the Church are full of potential, and it is incumbent upon preachers to harness that potential through their preaching. Unfortunately, many adolescents find contemporary sermons laborious and irrelevant. Young people are in a constant state of flux due to the physiological, neurological, psychological, and spiritual changes taking place in adolescence. Those in the thick of this period of tumultuous development desire, and deserve, to be heard by their parents, their teachers, and especially their priests or ministers—and to receive engaging, pertinent homilies.

This thesis aims to equip preachers with five principles of preaching for adolescents: Authenticity, Directness, Engagement, Relevance, and Relationality. These principles are based on the current scientific research of adolescent brain development, psychosocial theories, and spiritual development as well as the responses of actual adolescents who participated in eight Adolescent Focus Group Interviews concerning their real-life experiences of preaching.

To test the effectiveness of these five principles of preaching, four priests engaged in a process of self-reflection and homily evaluation. They responded to a self-inventory on their understanding of preaching for adolescents, and they also preached homilies which were evaluated by adolescents. In addition to the self-inventories and homily evaluations, the priests attended three workshops on those five principles of preaching for adolescents. The results of the priests’ self-inventories and the adolescent homily evaluations demonstrated that the adolescent evaluators responded positively to the priests’ implementation of Authenticity, Directness, Engagement, Relevance, and Relationality. These results suggest that the five principles of preaching for adolescents are effective means of improving preaching for young people in the Church today by addressing their developmental needs.
Degree Granting Institution
United States
Degree Granted
Doctor of Ministry
Type of Work
D.Min. Project
Number of Pages
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