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In this final volume of the Channels of Listening series, Mary Alice Mulligan and Ronald Allen turn to sermon listeners for advice on how to create more engaging and meaningful sermons. Drawing on the first large-scale systematic study of how listeners themselves describe the experience of hearing sermons and how those reports can influence preaching, Mulligan and Allen identify twelve qualities or characteristics that listeners most commonly seek in sermons. They use the listeners' own words to impart not just points that preachers would benefit from keeping in mind but also a real sense of how and why these qualities are important to the listener. The study this book is based on revealed that the participants went to church eager to hear the sermon. They said they believe sermons impact their lives and have the power to help them build a closer relationship to God. In this book, they talk openly and candidly about what makes a sermon meaningful to them and what blocks the message and turns them away. Their testimonies are a plea to preachers to listen and to learn.
When the authors of this book set about analyzing the data and reporting the findings of their extensive study on how laity hear sermons, they thought they would be sharing what listeners reported helps them enter into the meaning of a sermon and what keeps them from hearing what the preacher is saying. In a way, Believing in Preaching accomplishes this. But what the authors and researchers did not anticipate was the remarkable diversity with respect to how people listen to sermons. The authors no longer speak of the way people listen to sermons, as if everyone hears sermons in the same way. They speak instead of different clusters or patterns of listening that are present even in the same congregation and certainly in different congregations. Using excerpts from the study interviews to illustrate the diversity of answers, Believing in Preaching is organized around ten patterns of responses that reveal the range of ideas active within many congregations. The authors reflect on what we can learn about preaching from laity and include theological reflection on how the listeners' understanding of preaching fits with and even shapes their understanding and living out of the Christian faith.
Buy Make The Word Come Alive: Lessons From Laity (Channels of Listening) by Mary Alice Mulligan & Ronald J. Allen from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780827205031 & 0827205031
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