Coauthored by a homiletician, a theologian, and a biblical scholar, this book is a preaching primer that provides tools for crafting effective, engaging, and inspiring sermons. Using a unique workbook-style format, Introduction to Preaching equips seminarians and preachers to use appropriate theological claims informed by solid biblical interpretation while providing several sample sermons from the authors. Readers will learn how to use a three-part schema—the Central Question, the Central Claim, and the Central Purpose—to provide the drive, direction, and destination for the sermon. Offering guidelines for using appropriate sermon forms, imagery, metaphors, and creativity, together with advice on how to deliver contextually relevant sermons using our bodies, presence, and voice make this a staple for both new and experienced preachers.
Introduction to Preaching includes a chapter on exploring the space of preaching, including onsite and online sermons. In addition, it features charts and worksheets to help organize the sermon-writing process, as well as exercises for the preacher’s voice and body and tips for advice for guest preachers and supply preachers. A glossary of terms and an extensive bibliography make this a handy reference guide for students and all preachers.
Leah D. Schade is the Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky and an ordained Lutheran minister (ELCA) for more than twenty years. She is the author of five books on topics such as preaching, environmental issues, and political polarization, including Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). She has pastored congregations in suburban, urban, and rural contexts. Leah will serve as the President of the Academy of Homiletics in 2024.
Jerry L. Sumney is the Professor of Biblical Studies at Lexington Theological Seminary. He specializes in the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation and has written more than 40 articles and ten books on the Bible and New Testament texts including The Bible: An Introduction (Fortress 2010; third edition, 2021). He has contributed entries to the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible and the Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, and the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and is past president for the Southeastern Region of the Society.
Emily Askew is Professor Emeritus of Theology at Lexington Theological Seminary. A member of the LGBTQI community, she co-authored, with O. Wesley Allen, Beyond Heterosexism in the Pulpit (Wipf & Stock, 2014) to help preachers to learn to be more inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people in preaching and teaching in the church. She also writes on issues of immigration and her courses include an immersion experience on the US/Mexico border in Tucson/Sonora.
This exciting introduction is the first to come from a postmodern collaboration of a scholar of preaching, a scholar of the Bible, and a scholar of systematic and constructive theology. In addition to these interdisciplinary emphases, the authors pay respectful attention to issues of justice and preaching in diverse communities of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class. The authors help the preacher conceive preaching as a theological act, consider how to engage the Bible in preaching in exegetically responsible ways, how to formulate a central claim and purpose for the sermon in conversation with the cultural and congregational contexts, and how to imagine different ways of formulating the sermon so that it will have a chance to engage the congregation. I cannot think of a better point at which to begin preaching than through this book. I cannot think of a better way for experienced preachers to think afresh than by engaging this book.
This book’s co-authored combination of a homiletician, theologian, and biblical scholar makes it the trifecta of preaching scholarship and practical wisdom. Together, Schade, Sumney, and Askew teach and apply the fundamentals of preaching so artfully and accessibly, that all preachers—new and seasoned, lay and ordained—will put it to work over and over to enrich their preaching. It’s a must-read.
Innovative, up-to-date, and even enchanting! Finally, here comes a preaching textbook that preachers of the 21st century—seasoned, aspiring, or emerging—all can confidently rely on and will appreciate for many decades to come.
Introduction to Preaching is generous in its offering because it equips readers not only to learn how to preach well but also to know what is involved in terms of the sermon’s treatment of the Bible, and its theology. . . . Full of concrete sermon illustrations, pedagogically sound preaching exercises, and sermon samplers with step-by-step analyses, all-encompassing tips, tools, and ins-and-outs of sermon preparations.
Introduction to Preaching critically owns its situatedness within the broader landscape of preaching traditions. Instructors and practitioners will gain a pragmatic resource that mirrors the integrative work required in everyday contexts of ministry—fostering accountability and imagination.