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The Art of Preaching
Combining the substance of an introduction with the intimacy of a workshop, this course will explore theological and rhetorical foundations for preaching and provide practical experience in delivery and critique. Noting variety among denominational, theological and cultural traditions, the course will take an ecumenical approach rooted by an affirmation of the hermeneutic centrality of Scripture and the liturgical significance of preaching. Students will complete written assignments and special exercises, preach, and offer constructive critiques of sermons.
Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., beginning September 10 (14 weeks)
- Participants will cultivate exegetical and hermeneutical skills for preaching.
- Participants will understand the connection between their theology and preaching.
- Participants will examine a variety of rhetorical strategies (forms/structures) to sustain congregational interest.
- Participants will broaden their communication skills for effective sermon delivery within the tradition from which they emanate.
While the course is fundamentally Christian, other traditions may benefit from the practicum skill-based approach to speaking in the public square.
- Class attendance is a must. Excused absence will be granted, but more than two absences will result in a 10% lowering of the grade.
- Participation in class requires assigned readings and preparation to lead group discussion with a 15 minute overview of assigned topic.
- Preparation and delivery of several sermons are required. Please see full outline for details. All written assignments must conform to Hartford Seminary writing guidelines.
- Please check: www.hartsem.edu/student/forms/researchpaperguide.pdf.
September 10: Review of Syllabus and course requirements and Lecture
September 17: Lecture: “Why Preach, Why Listen”.
Read: Craddock, “Preaching” and be prepared for discussion.
September 24: Video Taped First Sermon
October 1: Lecture: “Why Preach, Why Listen.” Cont.
Read: Allen, "Interpreting the Gospel: An Introduction to Preaching".
October 8: Models of situational sermons lecture and discussion.
Participants should read: Allen, “Patterns of Preaching” or Childers, editor. "Birthing the Sermon: Women Preachers on the Creative Process".
October 15: Developing your style.
Read: Broadus, "On the Preparation and Delivery of the Sermon" Pages 200 –331 (the book is on reserve in the library).
October 22: Developing a passion and plan for preaching special occasions. Read: Aden and Hughes, “Preaching God’s Compassion.”
October 29: Sermons for Special Occasions and Funeral Homilies
Prepare a five to ten minute funeral homily for class based on a case study, which you will describe to the class before preaching. Sermons will be graded on your ability to articulate the Gospel and or tradition in light of the life of the deceased and the pastoral-theological context. A manuscript of your homily and a brief one-page description of your case study should be emailed to the instructor (email@example.com) no later than Monday morning prior to class.
November 5: Understanding the importance of the wedding Homily.
Read: Hedahl, “Preaching the Wedding Sermon”.
November 12: The Wedding Homily
Prepare a five to ten minute wedding homily for class based on a case study, which you will describe to the class before preaching. Sermons will be graded on your ability to articulate the Gospel and or tradition in light of the life of the couple's relationship and the wider pastoral-theological context. A manuscript of your homily and a brief one-page description of your case study should be emailed to the instructor (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Monday morning prior to class.
November 19: Models of Situational Preaching and Telling the Story
Please review the Allen book and choose one situational model for your next presentation. Possible topics include but are not limited to the following: Crisis Preaching, Preaching on Social Issues, Doctrinal Sermon, Preaching on the Sacraments, Evangelistic Preaching, Stewardship Sermon, Ethical Issues or Children’s Sermon. Read: Taylor. "The Preaching Life"
December 3: Situational Preaching Assigned Presentation.
Prior to your next class Read: Mitchell, "Celebration" and Stanley, "Communicating for a Change" and be prepared for discussion.
December 10: Final Sermon delivered in class from a text selected by your instructor.
This will be an opportunity for you to experiment and grow be creative and informative. Your sermon should be written in a complete manuscript form but it can and should be delivered in the style you feel comfortable with utilizing. Your manuscript, along with Complete Final Sermons and class wrap-up, your research and bibliography should be emailed to the instructor (email@example.com) no later than Monday morning prior to class.
December 17: Complete final sermon and course wrap up.
Craddock, Fred. Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1985.
Aden, Leroy and Hughes, Robert. Preaching God’s Compassion. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002
Allen, Ronald. Interpreting the Gospel: An Introduction to Preaching. St. Louis: Chalice, 1998.
Allen, Ronald. Patterns of Preaching: A Sermon Sampler. St. Louis: Chalice, 1998.
Childers, Jana editor. Birthing the Sermon: Women Preachers on the Creative Process. 2001.
Hedahl, Susan. Preaching the Wedding Sermon. St. Louis: Chalice, 2000.
Mitchell, Henry. Celebration and Experience in Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1990.
Stanley, Andy and Jones, Lane. Communicating for a Change Colorado Springs, CO: Moltnomah Books, 2006.
Taylor, Barbara Brown. The Preaching Life. Maryland: Crowley, 1993.
Recommended Text (for book review):
Cannon, Katie. Geneva Teaching Preaching Isaac Rufus and Black Sacred Rhetoric. New York: Continuum, 2002.
Broadus, John. On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994.
LaRue, Cleophus, ED. Power in the Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare Their Sermons. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2002.
Nieman, James R. and Rogers, Thomas G. Preaching to Every Pew: Cross-Cultural Strategies Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001.