The form of the sermon and effective communication : a homiletical study
The aims underlying- this study are basically an attempt to provide possible answers to the following two questions: *Why should the form of sermons contribute to communicate the embedded message effectively? * In which way can a preacher structure and adapt the form of sermons in order to communicate effectively to a contemporary congregation? In order to reach these aims a selection of sermons and the way in which they communicate an underlying message are investigated. This approach is used to disclose possible basis-theoretical elements that have been applied in Scripture and in the history of preaching. Certain aspects of effective communication are also analysed and explained in order to extract metatheoretical elements that can be applied to the form of sermons. Finally, certain conclusions are deduced after these elements have been scrutinised. Basis-theoretically, the research undertaken has revealed the following guidelines: * Literary forms and rhetorical devices in the Bible contribute to effective communication. A preacher should thus pay attention to, on the one hand, literary forms applied in the Bible and, on the other hand, the dynamics of communication in the process of exegesis. * To communicate effectively in a sermon a preacher should consider the flow, the movement and links in the construction of sermons, as opposed to fixed categorical statements forced onto the text. Further conditions for communication in a sermon include inter alia the following: the unity of the line of thought within the sermon, and also the utilisation of imaginative portrayal, narrative style and metaphorical language. * The form of a sermon has the inherent communicative ability to provide a link between preacher and listener, incite the interest and attention of listeners, and span a bridge between problem statement and a possible solution. * A preacher should find fulfilment in the careful arranging of words and images as they eventually contribute to create an environment in which faith can develop and grow. A preacher should thus apply the narrative as well as the communicative value and function of images, metaphors, illustrations and examples. In this study the necessity of understanding the communication process between preacher and congregation is highlighted on metatheoretical level, and ways of communicating these aspects effectively are also indicated. Guidelines that have been extracted as a result of the research undertaken include the following: * The form of sermons should be shaped by and also reflect the form of the biblical text. The biblical text should not merely yield the ideas and structure for the sermon, but the literary form of the biblical text should also co-determine the form and structuring of the sermon. In order to enhance effective communication a preacher could make use of inter alia the following: a congregation-centred sermon form, an induction-centred sermon form, and a narrative-centred sermon form. Sermon form should be structured, not only according to the line of thought and the movement and links in the biblical text itself, but also by analysing the nature and needs of a contemporary audience.
- Theology