(Anglican Journal) Robert Hartley–Common myths about preaching

The second myth is particularly applicable for Anglicans. William Vaughan Jenkins and Heather Kayan published a fascinating piece of homiletic research, “Sermon Responses and Preferences in Pentecostal and Mainline churches, in the Journal of Empirical Theology.

Three conclusions from their research stand out. First, “The data showed that Anglicans desired significant intellectual content”¦compared to Pentecostal members.” Second, “Participants from both churches responded to sermons in a predominantly emotional way.” Third, members of “both churches wanted to hear sermons on grace and forgiveness” above all other topics. Despite our preference for cognitive material, we clearly judge sermons by their emotional appeal, and prefer homilies on personal faith issues. It is a myth that the sermon must be aimed at people’s heads rather than equally at the mind and the heart.

The third myth grows out of the second. It is that a university education is extremely important in preparing one to be a good preacher. If this is true, how does one harmonize the postgraduate education of Anglican priests with the poor quality of the average Anglican sermon? A survey of 20 randomly chosen Anglican sermons from Nova Scotia to British Columbia produced the lowest ratings of any group studied. Apparently the worst preaching in Canada comes from our pulpits!

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology