Las prácticas de la predicación cristiana

Rudimentos para la proclamación eficaz


4. Preach Clearly

Chapter 4 - Introduction

Chapter 4 - Collaborator Discussion

Learning Activities

Group Discussion Questions (could be offered as an individual activity as well)

  1. Watch the Cynthia Hale sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt, Cynthia Hale introduces the subject matter of her sermon. How does she practice clarity in order to introduces us to the subject matter?
  1. Here is a theological term to unpack: sanctification. Use accessible language to describe what sanctification means. Watch out for big words, and watch out for churchy words that people who did not grow up in church would miss.
  2. Watch the Richard Gay sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt, Richard Gay exegetes the text without speaking over his listeners’ heads. What strategies doe he use?
  1. In the final section, “Commit to Brevity,” I gave six examples from Scripture that are both simple and sophisticated. Try to find six more.
  2. Watch the Padilla DeBorst sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt, Ruth Padilla DeBorst helps listeners understand how the birth of Jesus disrupts the Pax Romana. What strategies does she use in order to help her listeners understand how disruptive the birth of Jesus is to Roman power and dominance?
  1. Write down two to three statements in which you say what you believe about God, the gospel, or humanity. If in a group setting, share these statements with the group. Use accessible language. If you really want to challenge yourself, make your statements twelve words or less.
  2. Watch the Carolyn Gordon sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt, how does Carolyn Gordon make her language accessible to listeners?
  1. Reflect on the quotes you have memorized from theologians, pastors, popular figures, and mentors. What makes these statements memorable?
  2. Watch the Amos Yong sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt, Amos Yong (and his translator) uses concise exegetical insights in order to help his listeners understand what is taking place when Peter and John healing a disabled beggar in the temple complex in Acts 3. What insights does he bring into focus in his sermon and how do these insights help him communicate the story’s power to his listeners?
  1. Reflect on the four modes of clarity: concise exegesis, accessible language, a clear main idea, and commitment to brevity. Which one do you think is a strength for you? Which one is a growth area? Explain.
  2. Orality experiment: Turn the following five sentences into sentences for the ear instead of sentences for the eye.
  3. - God’s grace challenges a person’s presuppositions concerning who does and does not have value in the world.

    - The human capacity to sin defies conventional understandings of what is acceptable behavior.

    - Misplaced and disordered desires lead to further estrangement from God and from others.

    - Unchecked uses of power further disadvantage the marginalized and further harm the cause of justice.

    - Attempts at divine acceptance through merit-based righteousness are destined to fail and are rooted in a misunderstanding of divine-human covenantal relationship.

  1. Here are five main ideas that need help moving toward becoming homiletical ideas. Develop a concise, memorable main idea with each of these statements. Aim for twelve words or less.
  2. - Abraham kept on believing because he was convinced that God had the power to do what he had promised (Rom. 4).

    - The cross is worth boasting in because it sets us free from worldly captivity (Gal. 6:14).

    - Paul wins a hearing without compromising his beliefs by changing the means of his message rather than the message itself (Acts 17).

    - The reasons to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry are so that God’s justice can advance and God’s Word can plant itself in us (James 1).

    - A widow discovers God’s abundant supply when she offers even the little that she has back to God (2 Kings 4).

Individual Reflection Activity (for preaching journal outside of class or in-class writing activity)

  1. Where do I locate myself in my attentiveness to preaching with clarity? What do these insights reveal to me?

  2. If I were to solicit feedback, what would others tell me (or what have they already told me) about my attentiveness to preaching with clarity?

  3. What would it look like for me to take greater risks (i.e., stretch myself) so that I can grow in my capacity to preach clearly?

  4. Name two to three attainable goals that will help you grow in your capacity to preach with clarity. In addition to writing down your goals, explain why you chose these goals.