LECTURE 22 ON SERMON PREPARATION Contemporary Approaches

Broadus gives us numerous examples of contemporary sermonizing. All of these have limited usefulness because they should not be used in a way that interferes with the proclamation of the Word. As Paul says in Romans 10:17, Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. The contemporary approaches include a letter sermon, a short story sermon, a parable sermon, an interview sermon, audio-visual aids, object lessons, dramatic presentations involving others, dramatic monologues, first person or testimony preaching, like this is the story of my life, and dialogue sermons of which there are two kinds, dialogue with the congregation and dialogue in the pulpit.

As to the former, in the church I served in Pennsylvania there was an outspoken middle-aged woman. One day during a sermon she simply popped out a comment and a question from the congregation. The elders seemed to be mortified along with a good portion of the congregation. This was not the usual Sunday morning procedure. I answered her because I thought that she was sincere and deserved an answer and also because I wasn’t so sure that the shock everybody felt was all that good. Maybe it stemmed more from convention  and superstition than from a sincere desire to promote the truth. I never told her afterwards that she had done wrong, but I am confident there were plenty of others who did.

As to the latter, two good Pastor friends in our Philadelphia Presbytery, a Senior Pastor and an Associate Pastor were particularly talented in planning out a dialogue for Sunday morning. The congregation loved it. Some of my favorite sermons are actually poems written by Bud Collyer who was a TV host and also taught a Sunday school class at a Presbyterian church in Connecticut. The Book is entitled “Thou Shalt Not Fear, “ and contains 4 sermons, all written in verse. Information is in the bibliography at the end of the Introduction section.