Can one learn to whoop? Is there a system to help anybody whoop? Rev. Jasper Williams answers this question with an unequivocal yes. He states that anyone who has been called to preach has been given by God the ability to whoop.
This system is meant to help one learn how. Needless to say I was a little skeptical. But I went ahead and looked at this tape, video 10, in Jasper Williams Pastor and Preaching System. You can purchase the system at this link.
Background on Whooping
There is very little on the subject of “whooping” available on the web or in book form to preachers at the present time. You might be interested in looking at my series of posts on the subject at this link. Also you should look forward to Rev. Martha Simmons forthcoming book on the subject.
Like any good presenter, Rev. Williams defines whooping. His definition includes anything that God gives to you individually as a preacher to help you celebrate the gospel in your sermons. this definition is a little broader than what many of us think of when we think of whooping. But that very broadness is why he can make the statement that “anyone can whoop.”
I would add that usually whooping is seen as the introduction of musicality to the preaching moment.
Your Sermonic Whoop is Individual
At any rate, A very valuable component of Williams’ system is that he shows you a wide variety of very different whoopers. This emphasizes his major point that one preacher’s whoop is different from another preacher’s whoop.
Williams even goes so far as to say that in his early years he “copied” C. L. Franklin’s whoop too much instead of trying to find his own whoop. This point, namely that we should find our own whoop, is emphasized over and over again by Williams in the video.
In the video Rev Williams gives whooping theory which he calls “whoopology.” I gleaned the following fundamental components of Williams’ understanding of whooping from the video.
- Anyone can whoop. – As noted above, whooping is that element that God has given to each preacher that allows that preacher to celebrate the gospel.
- Unique to You – Related to the above point, no one else has your whoop. You are the only one who can do what you do
- Whooping is Gravy and not Meat – Here Williams emphasizes that preachers must give some solid content before one whoops. The whoop can not cover up the lack of a full sermonic meal.
- Do Not Strain in the Whoop – You should not yell or strain in whooping. Williams notes that you can do much more with your voice when your voice is at a natural pitch and volume. Williams states that the whoop is sweeter when it is more mellow. Volume is not the point. Yelling almost kills a whoop, according to Williams.
- The Whooping Curve – Sermons that end in “whooping” should drop in intensity when entering the whoop. More below.
What is the “whooping curve?” That is the fact that many sermons that use a whoop make sure that they are not at the height of their vocal intensity when entering the whoop of the sermon.
Rev. William’s understanding of preaching begins the sermon at a lower intensity then slowly builds up to a climax before the whoop section of the sermon. Then there is a drop in intensity. This is to make sure that your voice will not be strained in the whoop section which will ensure that you can continue to raise the intensity level through the whoop.
You must not go into the whoop at too high a level of intensity, you must have a drop in intensity as you go into the whoop. Then you build back up. If you go into your whoop at too high an intensity there is no place to go. I was listening to C. L. Franklin in the sermon entitled “Press on.” You find him at a high level of intensity. Then there is a drop in intensity right before the whoop. Then inside the whoop he builds to the final climax.
Steps to Implementing Whooping in Your Preaching
Rev. Williams does not just give theory, but he also gives some steps that a preacher should follow if that preacher wishes to introduce whooping into his or her preaching.
The first and perhaps most important thing one should do is practice. Practice in your car, practice in your shower. Also folks practice in the bathroom. Williams notes that practicing on the toilet is where many have done a lot of practicing. You want to practice. As you practice you must listen to yourself critically. Williams notes that when it sounds good to you it is ready for use.
Second, one should listen to other whoopers. This is akin to the jazz musician who listens to others. You do not copy but you emulate others. This is kind of a sticky thing. But you must preach your own style of Whoop. Seeing different styles helps a preacher find onesself.
And that is step three, you must find your own whoop. What is natural to you. God has built you physically and spiritually for a certain type of proclamation. Williams notes that we must preach in that way.
Finally, we should look for opportunities to incorporate “whooping” into our preaching. Because, in Williams thought, whooping is meant to articulate the joy of the Gospel, we must as preachers do it. Joy in the Gospel is an important component of our preaching ministry.
I think that the whooping system could spend a little more time in “step by step” instructions. But I began implementing elements of musicality into my preaching after looking at this video so it was helpful. The drastically different approaches to whooping also opens ones eyes to different takes on whooping.
However, I think that preachers who are in Whooping traditions probably already know most of what you will find on this video. And those of us who are not from those traditions probably could glean alot just from listening to great whoopers.
Be that as it may, Williams’ system can help to at least point you in the right direction and it is relatively inexpensive at 30 dollars. So I would encourage you to go and look at the video.
Starting to Whoop
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