Resources For Preaching In Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

A Brief History Of Preaching

Preaching has always been a significant moment in the church's worship. During the Middle Ages, preaching became almost completely irrelevant to the people as the consecration of the eucharistic elements became the sole focus of the liturgy. Fewer and fewer people could understand the Latin of the service. The mendicant preachers of the late Middle Ages began to restore preaching to the people, but the Reformation brought a new focus on preaching, often to the exclusion of the Eucharist. The current consensus views preaching as an essential part of the Service of the Word, which is balanced and completed by the Service of the Table. The following entries seek to provide resources for preaching while making no presumption of being exhaustive. The sections on styles and approaches in preaching delineate the essential methods of preaching while attempting to offer a glimpse into other more recent and creative trends in preaching. The history of preaching follows the natural divisions of Old Testament, New Testament, early church, fourth and fifth centuries, Middle Ages, Reformation, and modern era. First, the roots of biblical preaching are described in its Jewish background and later development by Jesus and Paul. The next three centuries of preaching are represented by Melito of Sardis, Origen, John Chrysostom, and Augustine, each with distinct methods and results. This history resumes, after a medieval lull, with the monastic Bernard of Clairvaux, the scholastic Thomas Aquinas, and the mystic John Tauler. Next we look at the preaching styles of the Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin and conclude with the revivalistic style of John Wesley and George Whitefield.

  1. The Jewish Roots Of The Christian Sermon
  2. The Sermon In Synagogue Worship
  3. Teaching And Preaching In The Synagogue And Early Church
  4. Jesus At Nazareth
  5. The Kerygma Of The Early Church
  6. The Preaching Of Paul
  7. Lay Preaching In The Early Church
  8. Melito Of Sardis (d. 190)
  9. Origen (185–254)
  10. Basil The Great And Gregory Of Nazianzus (fourth Century)
  11. John Chrysostom (347–407)
  12. Augustine (354–430)
  13. Bernard Of Clairvaux (1090–1153)
  14. Thomas Aquinas (1224–1274)
  15. John Tauler (d. 1361)
  16. The Reformers: Martin Luther (1483–1546) And John Calvin (1509–1564)
  17. John Wesley (1703–1791) And George Whitefield (1714–1770)

Styles Of Preaching

Throughout the history of the church, preachers have developed different styles of proclaiming the Word. These styles of preaching are often related to the hermeneutics of the preacher. Broadly speaking, the preacher approaches the task of speaking with one of three starting points. The first of these starting points is the Bible. The preacher approaches the text with the question, What does it say? Sermons that fall into this general category are evangelistic preaching, expository preaching, liturgical preaching, narrative preaching, proclamatory preaching, prophetic preaching, and textual preaching. A second starting point may be that of a more systematized sort. It draws from creeds, catechesis, and Christian doctrines with the explicit intent of teaching the system of Christian faith. Such approaches to preaching include catechetical preaching and doctrinal preaching. A third approach to preaching which does not neglect the Scriptures or Christian doctrines is a view of preaching that begins with human need as the starting point. Such types of preaching include African-American preaching, confessional preaching, contextual preaching, lay preaching, life situational preaching, progressive-emotive preaching, and seeker-sensitive preaching. These styles are reviewed and discussed in the following section.

  1. Evangelistic Preaching
  2. Expository Preaching
  3. Narrative Preaching
  4. Prophetic Preaching
  5. Textual Preaching
  6. Catechetical Preaching
  7. Doctrinal Preaching
  8. African-american Preaching
  9. Confessional Preaching
  10. Contextual Preaching
  11. Life-situational Preaching
  12. Progressive-emotive Preaching

Approaches To Preaching

Approaches to preaching are as numerous as preachers themselves. In this section, however, only those approaches that seem most helpful to today's preacher have been included. This section begins with an overview of two approaches to preaching used throughout the church's history to guide the preacher in a selection of biblical texts-lectionary preaching and lectio continua (preaching through a biblical book). These two historical approaches to preaching are immediately followed by a more recent innovation, the involvement of the congregation through a study group in the preparation and evaluation of the sermon. This innovation is indicative of the trend in the modern church to regard the preacher less as an authority on Scripture and more as the gathered community's interpreter of the Bible. The next three entries outline two of the most popular approaches to contemporary preaching-story-formed preaching and seeker-centered preaching. Although story-formed preaching is as ancient as the Bible itself, as the entry about Jewish storytelling makes clear, only recently has the storytelling art been intensively applied to sermon construction. The how of that art is developed in an entry by a preacher who has discovered the revolutionary nature of preaching that is shaped by story. Yet, for all the popularity of story among modern preachers, both in the church and in seminary, a differing approach, seeker-centered preaching, is also gaining attention from contemporary preachers. In the entry by Bill Hybels, one will be able to discern the seeker-centered approach to preaching from one who has helped develop what might be considered the modern successor to the revivalistic approach to evangelistic preaching. Two other new approaches to preaching are described in this section. In both cases, it is not the approach that is new, but rather the people who are preaching. Today major shifts are occurring in both the Protestant and Roman Catholic world as those who have been silent for years bring both fresh voices and approaches to preaching. Two entries, one by a woman, and the other by a lay Roman Catholic, describe these shifts. Finally, two entries have been included to help preachers in their preaching. The first suggests ways in which the preacher may evaluate the sermon. The second entry is a sermon planner that may potentially help the preacher in organizing the biblical witness, outside materials, and their own personal contribution to faithfully proclaiming God's Word today.

  1. Interpretation And Preaching
  2. Preaching Through The Lectionary
  3. Preaching Lectio Continua
  4. Preaching That Involves The Congregation
  5. Developing The Art Of Storytelling
  6. Jewish Storytelling
  7. Seeker-centered Preaching
  8. Lay Preaching
  9. Women As Preachers
  10. Evaluating Preaching
  11. The Sermon Planner