This slide show is from a class I taught at the Liverpool Mission Academy 'Pastoral Pathway' course entitled 'Exploring Sermon Styles.' The session evaluates a wide variety of preaching styles and their potential effectiveness.
Liverpool Mission Academy PP100 Preaching and Communication Theory: Exploring Sermon Styles www.preachersforum.org
Learning Outcomes1. Evaluate the homiletical effectiveness of sermon styles used by various important preachers.2. Critically distinguish the differences between different types of sermons.3. Rate the effectiveness of those different types of sermons for different liturgical contexts.
In the case of the following preachers from the 18th-21st centuries, we want to know…• What styles of preaching did they use?• What exactly about those styles made their preaching effective in their day and time?• How has preaching evolved throughout the centuries, and why does it continue to change?
18 th Century: George WhitefieldExpository and narrative preaching
18 th Century: Charles John Wesley Wesley Expository preachingPreached through poetry and hymns
Jonathan EdwardsPuritan ‘plain style’ of preaching
19 th Century: CharlesSpurgeon Expository, topical and thematic preaching
20 th -21 st Centuries: Bill Hybels, Willow Creek, Chicago ‘Seeker-oriented’ topical preaching
Nicky Gumbel—Alpha CoursePropositional, topical and doctrinal preaching
Mike Pilavachi—Soul Pastor Mike Fuller Survivor —”Through the Bible in 50 Minutes”Narrative and expository preaching Use of multimedia in preaching
Rob Bell, Mars Hill; NOOMAConversational style, topical and propositional preaching
The Bible is ‘a 2,000 page sleeping pill’ – Reverend Lovejoy Reverend Timothy LovejoyFirst Church of Springfield
Conclusions• Preaching continues to evolve as it is re- worked and reconceived by its best practitioners.• The impact of historical, literary and rhetorical criticism has impacted both exegesis and preaching forms and styles.• The ‘listening context’ has changed drastically since the 18th and 19th centuries.• Today preachers (and the Bible also) no longer gain automatic acceptance from their listeners due to their position as clergy or their association with the church as an institution within Western society.
5 Sermon Styles1. Technical Sermons • Analogical—analogies from historical or current societal myths and relating to the Bible • Propositional—‘main idea’ sermons • Deductive—begin with an interpretative hypothesis and demonstrate its validity • Inductive—ask questions of the text and arrive at an interpretative conclusion • Analytical—in-depth study of a biblical concept (justification, redemption etc). • Etymological--focus on Greek or Hebrew word- studies • Problem-solution—sets up the text as an interpretative problem to be solved • Expository—verse-by-verse ‘running commentary’ with illustrations and applications
2. Dogmatic Sermons (doctrinal traditions) A. Pastoral sermons—addressing pastoral issues and congregational concerns B. Doctrinal sermons—theological distinctives or denominational beliefs C. Topical sermons—biblical or relevant contemporary topic (marriage and singleness, finances, depression) D. Thematic sermons—biblical book or chapter themes (‘light and darkness’ in the book of John; ‘forgiveness’ in Matt. 18). E. Apologetic—defence of the Christian faith
3. Liturgical Sermons (liturgical calendar or special events: Easter, Lent, Christmas etc).4. ‘Rite-of-Passage’ Sermons A. Christening/dedication B. Baptism/confirmation C. Weddings D. Funerals
5. Missional Sermons A. Narrative sermons—1st and 3rd person narratives, ‘plot-like’ sermons B. Biographical sermons—biblical characters like Jonah or Paul C. Dramatic sermons—acting out passages or biblical concepts D. Musical sermons—multimedia or clips set to music; use of meaningful songs (Ray Boltz, ‘Watch the Lamb’)
ConclusionsDeciding upon which sermon form to utilize, and its ultimate potential effectiveness, depends upon a variety of factors, including: – The form and genre of the biblical text and its impact upon the sermon form itself (narrative text = narrative sermon?) – Evaluating the purpose of preaching itself: are you attempting to impart knowledge, elicit emotions, change beliefs, attitudes, values etc.? – The occasion (holiday, event, liturgical calendar etc). – Addressing unique situations or national emergencies (e.g., 9/11) – The culture of the listening audience – Audience analysis (age, beliefs, worldview, etc). – Sensitively addressing pastoral concerns facing the particular congregation (Adapted from class notes written by Rev. Dan Yarnell & Rev Dr Andy Hardy, Springdale College, England)