In Defense of Communicating God's Word: Conversational Preaching

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Sowards, William Michael
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School of Theology Thesis 2017 , School of Theology, University of the South , Communication in preaching , Interpersonal communication , Conversational preaching
The preacher as a communicator of God’s Word and a conveyer of things Holy was the premise that began this work. If someone is called by God to this awesome vocation, then the need to develop skills and tools to be proficient in the task is self-evident. To engage in effective communication, there needs to be a set of agreed-upon symbols and word definitions that are used in the exchange of ideas between persons. This agreed-upon set of symbols and word definitions is what we commonly call “language”. I explored how channels of communication are open through our sensory systems that help facilitate the transfer of messages. The “talk” of people can also be blocked by noise that can stop or distort signals. I investigated the idea that Christianity is unique and has a “cultural-linguistic tradition” all its own. The need to teach our people this tradition and to educate them with the knowledge of the cultural-linguistic tradition was explored. From our investigation of the aspects of interpersonal communications theory, I defined what is meant by the term “conversational preaching” and created a model to illustrate its use. I also developed the following acronym to help remember the tenets of conversational preaching: • Prayer • Relevant • Evocative • Acting • Convey • Holy Next I developed a formula for creating conversational sermons: 1. Start with prayer. 2. Evoke the imagination. 3. Relate the story, text, or passage to people’s life. 4. Always give them grace and hope even when challenging them to be transformed. 5. End with prayer. I also provided an example of such a sermon and have included other sermons of my own in Appendix A. Finally, I offered some resources to help the interested individual in acquiring new skills and competencies to be used in the crafting and delivering of sermons. My fervent prayer is that all preachers of God’s Word will take preaching seriously and might find something in this work that will support them in that endeavor. Blessings and Peace!