McCormick Theological Seminary

Hear the word of the Lord: how the practice of learning scriptures by heart and performing them in worship transforms preaching

Author
Peter Swift Buehler
Abstract
The thesis demonstrated that when a preacher learns scriptures by heart for performance in worship his/her hearing, and therefore preaching, improves. As the fields of Oral Interpretation and Performance Studies show, the Bible is best heard when performed. Preachers who internalize texts speak from a personal encounter with the Word. The thesis studied how a weekly scripture by heart practice serves to focus the preacher's attention, engage the imagination, inform exegesis, and guide sermon preparation. The writer's own story and the survey comments of parishioners established how the discipline is transforming--a means of grace for preacher and congregation alike.

Number one: the associate pastor's charge to preach

Author
Alan Dixon Dorway
Abstract
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard relies heavily on the advice, thoughts, and personality of his second in command, William Riker. Often called Number One, Riker has a varied workload. Associate pastors can empathize with this relationship between captain and next in line. Associate pastors have a unique call from God to serve the local church and part of that involves the preaching moment. This paper looks at the role of preaching for the associate pastor. In the midst of the many things we do as "number ones'" for our congregations, can we affect vision and direction in our sermons?

Re-kindling the fire: renewing hope for congregational vitality

Author
David A Torrey
Abstract
Almost any pastor will say they want their congregation to thrive. For most congregations to thrive, transformation is required. Breathing life into a congregation results not from the latest program, product or scheme, but attentive listening to God's Spirit in the preaching moment. Transformation begins as God's Word touches hearts and minds. One approach bearing great promise is Celebrative Preaching, described by Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas. Narrative Celebrative Preaching helps congregations live from memory to hope on their journey of transformation. NCP embraces and brings to light members' stories within the community through communal interviews recorded on a Whiteboard. Corporate recording of common stories and significant events reshapes a congregation's history. NCP encourages growth based upon remembrance of God's grace and activity for more awareness of God's presence and activity in their present.

Heart, mind, soul and strength: engaging the listeners' whole being through the incorporation of creative arts into preaching

Author
Richard L Gehring
Abstract
This thesis explores the use of music, drama and visual arts in preaching. It emerges out of the author's desire to preach sermons that stimulate emotions and intuitions as well as the listeners' intellectual capacity. Drawing upon Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, the author presented sermons incorporating diverse artistic media as a means of engaging various intelligences. Feedback to these sermons was solicited through both written and verbal responses. The thesis posits that the use of such creative elements can be effective in addressing the whole beings of the listeners and engaging different modes of intelligence.

A church that welcomes hip hoppers: preaching about hip hop in the church

Author
Valencia T Jackson
Abstract
Hip hop is here to stay. Hip hop is more than rap songs and music. It is a culture all its own. The author's thesis addresses preaching as a tool to invite a small congregation east of Atlanta to accept and welcome the hip hop culture into the church. The author's thesis is that when a congregation becomes knowledgeable about hip hop, it is more accepting and more open to welcoming young people that embrace hip hop. The author's method was to introduce hip hop to the congregation by hosting a hip hop concert. The author also asked the congregation to complete a questionnaire about their views on hip hop culture. The author educated the congregation by preaching a series of sermons about hip hop and its history. At the worship services during the sermons, recording artists sang hip hop songs, hip hop prayers were offered, and youth were actively involved in the worship services. The author discovered at the conclusion of her research that because the congregation was educated about hip hop culture, the members were willing to accept hip hop into Livingston Chapel CME Church. Additionally, the congregation was also more welcoming to having young people in the church.

Dusting off the doctrine

Author
Catherine Faith MacLean
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to enliven the understanding of doctrine in preaching. It is intended for preachers in denominations with no strict dogmatic requirements. Written from within the United Church of Canada, it refers to our doctrine and polity. Engaging the homiletical theory of faith seeking understanding, it warns of the danger of default doctrine and establishes a discipline to ensure that homiletical preparation involves more than simple grace and engages hard questions. The pleasures of theology merit reflection not only for the pastoral and intellectual lives of our parishioners but also for the fullness of our practice.

Where two stories collide: applying lessons from stand-up comedy in the pulpit

Author
David Giddings Swinton
Abstract
Drawing on homiletical theories of narrative preaching, from comedy research, from interviews with comedians, and from a series of sermons from his own pulpit, the author identified multiple ways that the rhetorical strategies of jokes and the methods of stand-up comedians can be effectively utilized in preaching. By employing insights gleaned from studying comedy, preachers can expose listeners' false assumptions and prompt them to reinterpret interpretation they thought they already knew. He found that strategies and techniques from stand-up comedy amplify the authenticity, immediacy, effect, and power preachers communicate when presenting the gospel message.

When celebration lingers

Author
Jeffrey Paul Crittenden
Abstract
The question this research project explored is: How will my preaching, using African American preacher Frank Thomas' book, They like to never quit praisin' God: the role of celebration in preaching, impact my congregation in their ordinary patterns of life? The research data were gathered in a United Church of Canada congregation who are primarily comprised of white, upper middle class professionals, many of whom have transferred to the denomination or are new to the faith tradition. Through the preacher's adaptation of the concept of Celebration (Situation, Complication, Resoltuion, Celebration), by using a leading question to invite and challenge the congregation at the conclusion of the sermon, the research indicated that the majority of listeners who responded to the questionnaire claimed that the sermon made a difference in their daily lives.

Speaking to itchy ears: evangelistic preaching in the United Church of Canada

Author
Ross A Lockhart
Abstract
Paul encouraged Timothy to be an evangelist, even when unfavourable times led people with itchy ears to follow social gurus rather than gospel promises. In today's unfavourable times, with church attendance at all time lows and congregations facing decline, what might evangelistic preaching look like in a mainline liberal Protestant context like The United Church of Canada? This thesis explores how evangelistic preaching, through a Celtic inspired model and by the Spirit's power, shapes a Christian community and its members for personal transformation and social action by reflecting Christ's love for the world through hospitality, study, conversion and testimony.

Vitalization of Davie Street Presbyterian Church through ministry teams

Author
Byron Anthony Wade
Abstract
The author studied a method of vitalizing a historic African-American church (Presbyterian) through examining the historic basis of African-American church leadership and collaborative leadership and praxis integration with the concept of ministry teams.
Subscribe to McCormick Theological Seminary