Sermons that are perfect : how does meeting with a spiritual director give completion to those who preach?

Edward Hart Schreur
This project is designed to provide information on how receiving spiritual direction helps an individual prepare sermons that are perfect. Perfection is defined not as a sermon that is free of errors but rather as a sermon that is mature and complete, arising out of awareness and knowledge of God that is received, in part, through the experience of receiving spiritual direction.

Chapter 1 provides an introduction to spiritual direction through offering several definitions and a short history.

Chapter 2 describes my experience of receiving spiritual direction and using that experience as a preaching resource.

Chapter 3 provides an analysis of how the experience of receiving spiritual direction is useful in preaching. I give attention to four areas: 1. Increased awareness of God through spiritual direction that is used as a basis for preaching; 2. Increased awareness of self through spiritual direction that is used in preaching; 3. Anecdotal experiences that occur in spiritual direction that can be used as sermon illustrations; 4. Specific content material that arises in spiritual direction that can be used in sermons.

Chapter 4 provides examples of sermons that integrate the findings.

Ray Charles by the roadside : a study in narrative preaching

Dann A Stouten
The purpose for doing this study is to introduce narrative homiletics to a broader audience of preachers. It is my hope to add to the diversity in our pulpits by offering an alternate sermon type that is simple to follow, and yet offers a variegated texture and feel through the use of the six different models.

I believe a working definition of narrative preaching would help clarify things at this point. Mine is as follows: Any sermon that follows a plot or story line and begins with a discrepancy and then wrestles with the ambiguities and ultimately concludes with God's final solution. The thesis of this project is that narrative preaching can be learned like spelling or arithmetic or your ABC's if the student is willing to follow a three step pattern of: imbalance, analysis, and solution.

The first step involves stating the discrepancy, the second step is an analysis of the ambiguities and the third step is finding God's solution to the problem.

We use six different sermon models entitled: Recasting the Story, Redating the Story, Remembering the Story, Retelling the Story, Reacting to the Story and Rethinking the Story, along with a running commentary and a listener evaluation form to analyze and demonstrate how narrative preaching can be done.

The illustrated sermon : a guide for the use and evaluation of metaphor in preaching

David R Zachrich
This research project is designed as a guide to help preachers use metaphors in preaching. It suggests that metaphor is the basis of illustrative material. The paper is composed of four chapters and a bibliography.

Chapter One discusses preaching as oral communication. The emphasis of the chapter is on the preacher as communicator. Obstacles to communication are examined and ways to overcome the obstacles are suggested. The use of metaphor as an aid to communication is emphasized.

Chapter Two examines communication in terms of the hearers. Audience analysis, cultural influences, and the hearer's perception of the world are cited as information areas the preacher will want to consider when preparing the sermon. The use of metaphor to help build meaningful relationships is discussed.

Chapter Three focuses on metaphor as an aid to preaching. A Biblical basis for the use of figures of speech in preaching is studied. Metaphor is defined by its function and value for illustrating sermons. Types and sources of metaphors are explored. Practical concerns, such as the placement and quantity of metaphors in a sermon, conclude the chapter.

Chapter Four is concerned with the evaluation of metaphors and guidelines for their use in preaching. At the conclusion of a sermon, immediate feedback is useful for measuring the clarity of a metaphor, but long-term feedback is also necessary to evaluate the appropriateness of the metaphors to the hearers by observing the assimilation of the metaphors into their life and vocabulary. Guidelines are offered for the effective use of metaphors.

Playing Christ : preaching and performing the drama of God’s mission

Brian Robert Keepers
In my survey of missional literature produced over the past ten years, I was struck by the minimal space given to (and often complete omission of) the role of preaching in the missional church conversation. In more extreme cases, preaching is regarded as “ineffective” and even an “impediment” to “going missional.” This greatly troubled me, especially since I am part of a Reformed tradition that affirms the ministry of Word and Sacrament as a primary means of grace by which the triune God missionizes us and forms us as a missional people. So I set out to explore the relationship between the Ministry of Word and Sacrament and the missio Dei, particularly interested in what kind of preaching cultivates a missional imagination among God’s people. I came to the conclusion that the kind of preaching that does this is that which draws people into the drama of the triune God’s mission, where our lives get re-scripted in Christ and we are transformed and empowered by the Spirit to improvise our parts (“play Christ”) to the glory of God and for the sake of the world. I then set out to identify key characteristics of missonal preaching toward this end. In addition, I was curious as to which of these key characteristics were most present and most absent in my own sermons and how I might increase my capacity to incorporate them in my regular practice of missional preaching.

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest Toward the Preparation of Sermons

Stephen Trent Thomas M.Div.

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest
Towards the Preparation of Sermons

This project will argue that, because deliberate rest is restorative to the intellect and to creativity, and because preaching preparation is a creative and intellectual endeavor, preachers should intentionally incorporate deliberate rest into their sermon-preparation process. The writer will explore the biblical basis for rest using six passages of Scripture. Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 will establish the importance of Sabbath rest. Psalm 19 will describe rest as one experiences nature. Matthew 11:25-30 will reveal the rest Jesus promises to those who are weak and heavy-laden. Mark 6:30-44 will develop the rest Jesus provides to His followers when they become overwhelmed with ministry. Hebrews 3:18-4:13 will explore the rest promised to the obedient.
The writer will present research from scientific sources. Rest, Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Sooing-Kim Pang, The Wandering Mind by Michael Corbalis, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré, and The Secret World of Sleep by Penelope Lewis are the sources that will reveal the value of sleep to the intellect and to human creativity.
The writer will survey Christian authors to provide biblical insight into the value of sleep. These books are Saints’ Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter, The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, The Art of Rest by Adam Mabry, Subversive Sabbath by A. J. Swoboda, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. These authors accentuate the necessity of rest for the follower of Jesus.
The project’s goal is to help preachers improve their preaching by adding various forms of rest during their sermon-preparation process.


Todd Arthur Peperkorn D.Min.
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

Michael Butler
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.

Preaching About Biblical Marriage: An Evaluation of Functional Elements in Martyn Lloyd-Jones's Sermons on Ephesians 5:22-33 as Contained in the Book Christian Marriage and Its Implications for Modern Preachers

Keith Wayne Hamilton D.Min.
The purpose of this historical and biographical analysis was to understand the life and ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones and to draw implications from this understanding for contemporary pastors more faithfully to preach biblically concerning marriage. The overall ministry philosophy and methodology of Lloyd-Jones have been considered along with his value for biblical authority, expository preaching, and biblical marriage. This purpose was accomplished through qualitative research using content analysis on primary and secondary sources by and about Martyn Lloyd-Jones to understand what he believed about Christian preaching and ministry and to know how he applied that understanding personally and in the pulpit.

The research design for this study followed a qualitative approach to studying data. The study also implemented content analysis when examining individual sermons Lloyd-Jones preached from Ephesians 5:22-33 contained in Christian Marriage: From Basic Principles to Transformed Relationships. These sermons were evaluated according to the functional elements of explanation, illustration, and application to derive implications for pastors today.

The research is developed into three parts. First, in chapters 1-2, the thesis and life of Lloyd-Jones is described. Second, in chapters 3-4, his value for biblical expository preaching is established. Third, chapters 5-6 set forth the evaluating methodology for the eleven sermons. Fourth, chapter 7 validated the thesis by offering the analysis of data and research conclusions, along with further suggestions.

From Ecclesial Ruin to the Blessed Hope: The Connection between John Nelson Darby's Ecclesiology and His Dispensational Theology in His Sermons

Stephen Mark Fulmer D.Min.
The author examined how the preaching of John Nelson Darby demonstrate a correlation between his ecclesiology and the formation of his dispensational theology. A total of 15 of Darby’s sermons were reviewed within the context of five eschatological themes: (1) the ruin and apostasy of the church, (2) a call to separation and holiness, (3) the blessed hope – Christ’s soon return, (4) the coming eschatological judgment, (5) the church as the bride of Christ. The author concludes that Darby’s sermons are an important resource that reveals that his ecclesiology and his eschatology are developed in a profoundly interconnected manner and reinforce one another.

Preaching to Help Members of a Burmese-Falam Chin Congregation Overcome Their Lack of Self-Esteem

Deborah Suikhinmawi D.Min.
Preaching provides the opportunity to express God’s everlasting love, care, and presence, and to nourish a healthy self-esteem in the hearers as beloved children of God. This thesis project focuses on preaching that aims at instilling in its hearers the truth of their identity as people valued by God. It is concerned with the development of a message that restores self-esteem to persons who have experienced persecution, discrimination, and systematic oppression that have stripped them of their self-worth. Preaching the affirming truth of God’s love, care, and presence has the power to heal, remove self-doubts, restore confidence, and rejuvenate spirits of those individuals being dismissed as refugees, immigrants, or socially and culturally other.
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