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Preaching with Cultural Intelligence

Understanding the People Who Hear Our Sermons

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Preaching 2018 Book of the Year

To preach effectively in today's world, preachers need cultural intelligence. They must build bridges between listeners who come from various denominations, ethnicities, genders, locations, religious backgrounds, and more. Experienced preacher and teacher Matthew Kim provides a step-by-step template for cross-cultural hermeneutics and homiletics, equipping preachers to reach their varied listeners in the church and beyond. Each chapter includes questions for individual thought or group discussion. The book also includes helpful diagrams and images, a sample sermon, and appendixes for exegeting listeners and for exploring cultural differences.


Part 1: Cultural Intelligence in Theory
1. Preaching and Cultural Intelligence
2. The Homiletical Template
3. Hermeneutics and Cultural Intelligence
4. Exegeting the Preacher
Part 2: Cultural Intelligence in Practice
5. Preaching and Denominations
6. Preaching and Ethnicities
7. Preaching and Genders
8. Preaching and Locations
9. Preaching and Religions
Appendix 1: The Homiletical Template
Appendix 2: Worksheet for Understanding Culture
Appendix 3: Sample Sermon


"Matthew Kim writes with the sensitivity of a pastor, the experience of a multicultural minority person, and the knowledge of an experienced homiletics professor--a wonderful combination for helping us think through what is needed to bring knowledge of hermeneutics, humans, and homiletics to bear on the task of preaching in a world of rapidly integrating cultures."

Bryan Chapell, senior pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church; author of Christ-Centered Preaching

"In this brave, vulnerable book, professor and preacher Matthew Kim reminds us that homiletics also includes diverse humans, both preachers and listeners. He names the elephant in many congregational rooms and aims to prepare preachers to become more culturally intelligent as a means to being more faithful to God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an essential text for anyone who takes seriously the call to love our neighbors through preaching, regardless of denominations, ethnicities, genders, locations, and religions. Readers will step away from these pages with the renewed realization that cultural exegesis not only is important for sermon preparation but is an act of love."

Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel

"I couldn't be more thrilled to commend this book to preachers everywhere. Kim takes the science behind our work in cultural intelligence and brings it to life to help preachers share the greatest news of all. Rooted in research and made practical with specific biblical texts and application points, this book should be read by any preacher wishing to communicate effectively with the twenty-first-century congregation." 

David Livermore, author and thought leader on cultural intelligence and global leadership

"The art of preaching involves more than simply 'getting the Bible right.' We will not know what to preach until we know to whom we are preaching. In Preaching with Cultural Intelligence, Matthew Kim wisely and adeptly sensitizes preachers to the unexamined cultural and sociological assumptions that inevitably drive their preaching. Throughout the book Kim helps the reader understand the importance of cultural intelligence, showing how self-exegesis, cultural-exegesis, and scriptural-exegesis can all come together in a way that deepens the preacher's capacity to minister the Word of God to the people of God. This is a thoughtful, insightful book that offers more than mere homiletical technique--an important book for pastors."

Gerald Hiestand, executive director, Center for Pastor Theologians; senior associate pastor, Calvary Memorial Church

"As an 'Other' myself--in more ways than one--I found Kim's book to have touched on an issue worth serious consideration by every preacher. This work will start us on the process of becoming more culturally intelligent, whether we are preaching in South Hamilton or South Korea, New York or New Delhi. And, as we engage with this book's concepts, the Word of God will be better served to the community of God from our pulpits, molding a diversity of peoples into the unity of the image of Christ."

Abraham Kuruvilla, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Preachers have been waiting for a smart book on cultural intelligence. Let's face it, we've been behind the ball when it comes to really understanding the cultural diversity of our listeners. Matthew Kim brings us up to speed and gives us practical ways to use cultural intelligence. And he reminds us from the Bible that it is our duty as preachers to work diligently that we might present everyone fully mature in Christ."

Patricia Batten, ranked adjunct assistant professor of preaching, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Matthew D. Kim
    Used with permission © Baylor University

    Matthew D. Kim

    Matthew D. Kim (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is professor of preaching and pastoral leadership and holder of the George W. Truett Endowed Chair of Preaching and Evangelism at Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. He is a past...

    Continue reading about Matthew D. Kim


Preaching 2018 Book of the Year

"Stepping into a significant gap in homiletical literature, Matthew Kim . . . has produced an outstanding resource that will help church leaders better understand the cultural diversity that is shaping their communities and how to respond effectively to such change. Preaching with Cultural Intelligence is a book that deserves to be read by pastors and leaders who care about the future of the church."

Michael Duduit,


"Most of us find ourselves preaching in rapidly changing social landscapes. Kim's analysis and constructive proposals will help our sermons come across with new appeal and bite."

Robert W. Yarbrough,


"This is a very useful book as Kim writes with both an understanding of the sensitivities of multicultural people and the challenge that Pastors face when ministering to multicultural audiences. . . . Kim has read extensively and discusses over 100 resources, comprised of books and articles, to support his arguments in this book. Additionally he includes nine tables and seven figures to stress the importance of preaching with cultural intelligence. Apart from the resources he also includes a sample Homiletical Template, a worksheet and a sample sermon. In conclusion the Homiletical model that Kim proposes, if followed correctly as explained, will be of great benefit especially to preachers and generally to all Christians as we engage with people of different cultures with sensitivity and cultural intelligence."

Devni Regis,

Journal of Contemporary Ministry

"Kim systematically walks the reader through the process of sermon preparation and delivery, recognizing various aspects of cultural intelligence and sensitivity. He masterfully weaves in his own experiences as an ethnically Korean and culturally American pastor with graciousness and authenticity. Drawing upon the classic preaching textbooks and yet also attuned to current trends and discussions in preaching, Kim writes with clarity a superb textbook for teaching preaching. . . . I highly recommend this book, whether for the novice preacher or the experienced pastor looking to connect in a multi-cultural context."

Steven C. Ibbotson,