Sermon as Journey to Celebration

The next pattern in the book Preaching Patterns by Ronald Allen is the Sermon as Journey to Celebration. You can see more in depth information on t his in Henry Mitchell’s book Black Preaching and my own post on the concept of Celebration.

Allen states that this is a very ancient methodology probably derived from traditional African religions. He also notes that many of all ethnicities are incorporating aspects of it.

In this pattern you move from one point to another until you get to the celebration. The sermon is a set of blocks or steps that are much like David Buttrick’s concept of “move” and not like what is sometimes thought of as a “point.” The preacher has a “behavioral purpose and keeps that in mind as he or she slowly moves forward move by move to the climax or celebration.

Allen notes that these sermons often start slowly speed of speaking and lower in intensity. Then gradually the sermon intensifies until it reaches its highest point in the final move which is a celebration. Many African American sermons follow this plan and I think it is a very good way to conclude a sermon.

One thing that is implicit in the method that we should bring out is that the purpose of the sermon drives the sermon. You are pushing towards a point that will affect change in the congregation. The whole sermon has that in mind. Another point is that the sermon’s end is in mind from the beginning. You finish the sermon by celebration. And you think about that the whole sermon.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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