I was talking to a fellow student the other day about the quality of sermons that we get to hear in divinity school. You see when students are graded they put forth their best effort. That is not to say that all have been good, but most have. This past week I got to hear two sermons that were particularly interesting to me in that they both gave me models of a particular aspect of preaching that I have been working on.
Connection to the Congregation
The first preacher preached with pathos and I was immediately drawn in. Her sermon both demonstrated and proclaimed that often the power of God is demonstrated in weakness and that often we cannot see God “fixing” the issues and problems of life. What was of interest to me was how she pulled me into her sermon. Do you take the congregation on a journey and are they so enraptured in the event that they don’t realize the passage of time or other things that might distract them.
Variable Vocal Dynamics
The other preacher spoke about how we can find God in the face of the “other.” This preacher also preached a good message, but what was of particular interest to me was how the preacher was able to use vocal dynamics in a smooth and natural way. The preacher even quieted down to a whisper. I have been told that I need to use different vocal dynamics and this preacher demonstrated aging how doing such things can be very powerful and connect to the congregation in interesting ways.
These preachers blessed me not just by the message that they allowed God to speak through them, but also in the homiletic training that they gave me.