Preaching

Preaching so people will listen: an analysis of design principles for effective communication

Author
David A Daniels
Abstract
This project evaluated the sermons of three popular pastors to determine if they employ the basic principles of design in their preaching. Specifically, this research sought to confirm the hypothesis that the essential principles of visual communication--rhythm, contrast, balance, proportion and unity--are applicable to verbal communication as well. The research first surveys relevant literature in fields of visual and verbal communication and then noted the principles within the biblical text. From this review, an evaluation instrument was designed. Then, three preachers were selected and their sermons transcribed and evaluated according to a validation grid. The results confirmed that effective preachers employ rhythm, contrast, balance, proportion and unity in their sermons.

The clothes have no emperor: sculpting the homiletical point

Author
Connie M Kleingartner
Abstract
This thesis explores the benefits of determining one point for the sermon prior to engaging the sermon preparation process. This was evaluated through four sermon projects, which led to specific observations regarding the nature of the sermonic point itself, which is discussed in terms of its quantity, quality, and acquisition. The thesis includes methods of obtaining the point suggested from the sermon projects and the contributions of those who have articulated their process in book form or interviews. The determining factor of success for this thesis was the increased level of author's own joy in the process of preparing sermons.

Preaching in fallow time: nurturing deep-rooted growth through word and sacrament

Author
Sallie Meredith Watson
Abstract
The author researched the effect of transitions upon a particular congregation, and how preaching on the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper help the congregation navigate those transitions. In each is an element of uncontrollable mystery: one's vulnerability at font and table, one's lack of control in transitional moments, and one's chutzpah in preaching God's Word. She concluded that, in times of transition, the preacher should focus on the goodness of God and the mysteries of God, rather than trying to force a premature resolution. The liminal nature of the sacraments is a complement to preaching in a liminal time.

All are welcome: preaching and the development of church identity in a small town

Author
Robert LaRochelle
Abstract
An understanding of identity is important in the life of a local congregation. The decisions that a church makes are rooted in this identity. Any exploration of church identity begins with an examination of how people understand the nature and mission of the local church. This thesis will explore how the act of preaching plays a vital role in the development of a church's identity, both individually and collectively. Based on the recent experience of my congregation and drawing from homiletic theory and other appropriate resources, the thesis will demonstrate how this congregation's identity as a welcoming community developed through preaching attentive to the local context and intentionally relational, dialogical, free of coercion and consistent with other pastoral initiatives in which preacher and congregation are engaged.

Preaching to the dechurched

Author
Derik W Hamby
Abstract
This project explored preaching to de-churched people. The project involved interviewing twenty people. Fourteen interviews of de-churched or previously de-churched people were done by the author. A focus group of six then met to be interviewed and to help with a sermon series. The author found that de-churched people are like others who are longing for preaching that is relevant and relates the Bible to life. Preaching will not keep people out of church nor will it alone bring people back, but it is a crucial aspect that helps people stay active in the church.

The self-disclosure of the preacher in the sermon: teaching undergraduate Bible college student ministers to disclose with discretion

Author
Mark Robert Scott
Abstract
This thesis looks at appropriate and inappropriate self-disclosures of preachers in their sermons. The self-disclosure is that of first-person stories. Undergraduate Bible College student ministers often turn to their own lives as a source for sermon illustrations. Sometimes their self-disclosure lacks discretion. By paying attention to the self-disclosure critque form, student ministers can accelerate their maturity in disclosing with discretion in their use of first-person stories. The vulnerability in self-disclosure may be more of a quality of life than a homiletical strategy, but mature preachers will find ways to talk about themselves so that God is heard.

Hearing the eunuch's children: preaching in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities

Author
Mark B Lee
Abstract
Preaching helps articulate the chief theological concerns of a community. The author analyzed an interdenominational sample of fifty sermons from GLBT contexts. The sermons were numerically scored to discern the local theology preached. Key topics were queer Biblical hermeneutics, the development of healthy GLBT communities, integrating identity as GLBT and Christian, working for justice in hostile cultures, and developing a theology of sexuality and relationships. Constructive suggestions for GLBT homiletics included attending to the work of God within GLBT lives, being aware of hearers' stages in coming out, deconstructing homophobia and heterosexism, and clarifying sexuality, spirituality and relationship ethics.

Preaching with visuals: a spirit-filled, electronic stained glass window

Author
Douglas L Walker
Abstract
The purpose of this research project was to measure the response and effectiveness of four sermons presented with an augmentation of visual displays by a preacher who increased his daily spiritual devotional time and range for study. A multi-picture PowerPoint presentation was employed, and written surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews measured the response. The result was a seventy-seven percent positive response, a seventeen percent neutral response, and a six percent negative response. It concluded that people in congregations similar to this context respond well to a PowerPoint presentation during the sermon by a spiritually disciplined preacher.

Help stamp out stewardship: reframing traditional preaching approaches to stewardship

Author
Paul R Meese
Abstract
This project reframes the traditional approaches to preaching stewardship in the church by using humor to preach the message. Presently the word stewardship has mostly negative connotations and results; consequently pastors mostly avoid the subject. The author, a mainline church pastor, draws on personal and several colleagues' experiences and evidence of trends in other mainline churches to discuss the subject. Humor, while more acceptable in modern homiletic strategy, has been characteristically absent in the stewardship message. This project suggests the gifts of humor align nicely with the needs of stewardship. The author uniquely offers examples from Victor Borge comedy sketches.

Literature as friend in preaching the passion of Christ

Author
Joseph J Scholtes
Abstract
This project explored the use of literature (novels, short stories, and narrative non-fiction) in preaching. The author studied the relationship of faith and literature, as well as the relationship of the preacher to literature and Scripture. He developed a discipline called "scanning the skies" that was used in preaching on Christ's Passion during Lent and Easter 2005. This discipline helped the preacher experience Lent/Easter as a unified time, see Lent as a time of the Spirit, and decrease frustration in preaching the Passion. The project suggests ways for future use of the discipline, and an appendix contains the sermons preached.
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