Black Preaching Style – Call and Response

Call and Response is one of the central components of Black preaching. The congregational participation is so important that many preachers subconsciously pause to leave room for the congregation to respond.

Evans Crawford has written a homiletic text that is based on the Call and Response in the Black church. The title of the book is The Hum: Call and Response in African American Preaching. In that work the forward movement of the semron is judged by its connection to the congregation. That connection is judged by congregational response. Crawford notes 5 progressive affirmations to guide the preacher. The stages are as follows:

  1. Help ‘em Lord!
  2. Well?
  3. That’s All Right!
  4. Amen!
  5. Glory Hallelujah!

Note in this video how the congregation responds to the preacher. Also note how the preacher’s very presentation style makes room for the audience response. He pauses between phrases to make room for the congregation. This part of the sermon seems to be the “That’s all right” phase using Crawford’s classification scheme.



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