Category Archives for "Whooping"

Whooping and Sermonic Complexity


I have written on the topic of Celebration in preaching in other posts. This is the time of the sermon where the reality of the Gospel hits the congregation in such a real way that the congregation experiences the Gospel. Frank Thomas notes that the people will only remember that which they celebrate.

Whooping and Cluster-Term Analysis

I have begun a study of the sermons of C. L. Franklin. What is interesting about some of these sermons is what happens in the celebration or the whooping component of the sermon. One of the most striking things is the reduction of sermonic complexity in the celebration. One of the rhetorical tools I used to analyze the sermon is “Cluster Criticism.” In cluster Criticism we find the important terms and synonyms of these important terms and chart them throughout the sermon.

For example, in the sermon “Pressing On” which can be found in the book Give Me This Mountain: Life History and Selected Sermons and the audio cassette Legendary Sermons, Franklin uses “fighting a good fight,” “Keeping the faith,” and “finishing” to encode the idea of “pressing on” in the sermon. When one is “pressing on,” according to Franklin, one is “joining the army” and “pressing towards the mark.” one is “pressing on” to many “good things” including “higher ground”, “upward way” and “new heights.”

Multiple Synonyms for Key Term

Franklin uses many terms during the sermon to help the congregation to understand what he means by “Pressing on.” However when it is time for the whoop. When it is time for celebration, Franklin eliminates all of these added words and only uses one term “running the race” to encapsulate all of those ideas. He celebrates the truth of “pressing on” and the complexity of the idea of “pressing on” but zeros in on one term “running” and hammers that one term home.

Reduce Complexity in the Whoop

When we are preaching, we must include complexity in our sermons. We must describe and define the idea we are presenting in many different ways. We even must consider possible objections to the idea, but when it is time to celebrate, you should have already laid a solid ground work and thus should just take one term to encapsulate it all.

When you do this, you provide a hook for the people to remember the whole sermon. In addition, you eliminate a lot of things that might detract from the core gospel theme in the “celebration” if you do not hammer this one point. So in this sermon, Franklin eliminates rhetorical complexity in the celebration and thus provides a strong finish to a solid sermon.

Jasper Williams Whooping System

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.

Whooping Theory

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.

Conclusion

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

Learn how to whoop with this unique resource.

Preachers of all abilities can increase their effectiveness by implementing musicality in their preaching. This resource will help you do just that.

EBook Immediately Downloadable

Learn More

Steps to Learning to Whoop

Many people contact me wanting a step by step method to learn to whoop, here is the outline of a method.

1. Listen to Other Whoopers

The first thing that one should do if you want to learn how to whoop is listen to other whoopers. Just like if you want to learn how to play jazz, you must listen to others who do it well. Please note that there are different levels of listening. The first level is merely for enjoyment. Here you simply listen for things that you enjoy or that “speak to you” on some level. Another level of listening however is critical analysis. Here you seek to understand what is happening. You listen to the whooper trying to hear the pitch changes. When does the whooper change pitch. When does the whooper change the volume? Does the whooper only get loud at the end? Does the whooper get loud and soft? Another question one might listen for is a sequence of pitches. Does the whooper make use of a sequence (sometimes called a riff in music)? What about rhythm? Does the whooper change his or her rhythm?

Along with the critical analysis, the budding whooper should listen to a wide variety of whoopers. Listen to the traditional C. L. Franklin, Caeser Clark, and Jerry Black. Listen to the Harvard Whooper. Listen to the young whoopers like Marcus Cosby or Rudoloph Mckissick Jr. And listen to the whoopers who have a style totally their own like Leory Elliot. Listening to a wide variety of whoopers will help you find who you are as a whooper.

2. Sing

The next thing to do is to sing. There is a connection between singing and whooping. Listen to Jerry Black as he sings and then listen to how he whoops. There is a connection. Now you may not ever sing a solo, but you need to sing as a member of the congregation and as you go along. Sing spirituals, sing the great hymns of the Christian faith, and sing the Gospel Songs. Sing Andre’ Crouch and Fanny Crosby.

The important thing is that whooping has a lot in common with singing. listen to a whooping master and a great gospel singer. You will find that they both make use of vocal dynamics. They go from loud to soft and vice versa. They both make use of rhythmic changes. They speed up or slow down as needed. they both make great use of timing. They both improvise. Etc. Listen to great preachers and singers and sing.

3. Practice

Finally, you want to practice. Don’t go up into the pulpit without having practiced whooping. Personally, I think that all preachers should practice more. When I used to play the trumpet, I would practice 30 min – hour a day just practicing playing. Perhaps preachers should spend 30 minutes to an hour a day just practicing their presentation skills. Be that as it may, if you are to whoop, you probably should practice it. Practice in your car, practice in your shower. Jasper Williams notes that many have learned to whoop while sitting on the toilet. You want to practice. As you practice you must critically listen to yourself. Jasper Williams notes that when it sounds good to you it is ready for use.

4. Incorporate Whooping in Your Sermons

Finally, we should look for opportunities to incorporate “whooping” into our preaching. Without forcing, slowly put some musicality in your preaching. Add rhythm to the way you say some things. Explicitly hit a note when preaching. Don’t force it. Do all your forcing in the practice room, but when you get out in front of the congregation, just preach and let it happen.

5. Whoop with Integrity

Please to succumb to the temptation of using whooping to cover up a lack of preparation. Perhaps we all have heard whoopers who obviously haven’t done the preparation necessary to preach an effective sermon to the people of God. Then these preacher simply start whooping and the people go wild. However, during the week when pain and trouble come the people haven’t been given the tools to deal with the world because the preacher decided to serve slop and then try to put cream over it. We as preachers have been called to give the word that is needed, a sweet whoop does not discharge us of this duty. If you whooop, please whoop with integrity.


For More Information

Learn how to whoop with this unique resource.

Preachers of all abilities can increase their effectiveness by implementing musicality in their preaching. This resource will help you do just that.

EBook Immediately Downloadable

Learn More

Audio 25 – Whooping with Integrity

I was listening to a preacher who tried to use a “whoop” to hide his lack of preparation. In this audio I give a few principles for whooping with integrity. If a preacher follows these principles he or she will be on the way to not just whoop, but whoop with integrity.

Download the audio at this link.