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Preaching in Christian worship

On preaching the Word in worship, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Directory for Worship says:

The preached Word or sermon is to be based upon the written Word. It is a proclamation of Scripture in the conviction that through the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ is present to the gathered people, offering grace and calling for obedience. Preaching requires diligence and discernment in the study of Scripture, the discipline of daily prayer, cultivated sensitivity to events and issues affecting the lives of the people, and a consistent and personal obedience to Jesus Christ. The sermon should present the gospel with simplicity and clarity, in language which can be understood by the people. For reasons of order the preaching of the Word shall ordinarily be done by a minister of the Word and Sacrament. A minister of the Word and Sacrament or other person authorized by the presbytery may be invited by the pastor with the concurrence of the session or, when there is no pastor, by the session. A person may be sent to preach by the presbytery. (W-2.2007)

Featured sermon

"The Fragrance of Christ" (John 12:12–19; 2 Cor. 2:12–16a), Mary Margaret Flannagan

What is the fragrance of Christ? And what does it mean to be the aroma of Christ? To be a tell-tale, fragrant sign of God’s presence in the world? Read more

Featured article

Mike Graves, "Three Good Preaching Words," Call to Worship 42.3


Book reviews

Is there a book on preaching you’d like to recommend to other readers of Call to Worship? Submit a review. Be sure to include bibliographic information and a brief description of the book, indicating what you appreciated about it and why others might find it helpful.

Preaching Without Contempt: Overcoming Unintended Anti-Judaism

By Marilyn J. Salmon
Reviewed by Roy W. Howard

Beginning in the first century and continuing to the present, Christian pastors have been responsible for rightly interpreting Judaism to their congregations through preaching and teaching the Bible. The history of this challenge is filled with ugly examples of failure that have contributed to ignorance among Christians about Jews and Judaism and in many cases violent attacks against them. Marilyn J. Salmon makes a brilliant effort to correct this problem by writing for well-educated Christian preachers who disavow obvious anti-Jewish sentiments, even regularly engage in interfaith relations with Jews, yet often unintentionally adhere to assumptions that perpetuate contempt of Judaism.

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Learn more

Visit these websites to learn more about preaching in Christian worship.

Academies for Missional Preaching

Recommended reading

Ronald Allen, Preaching: An Essential Guide (Abingdon, 2002)

David Buttrick, Homiletic: Moves and Structures (Fortress, 1987)

Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, Second Edition (Fortress, 2001)

Charles Campbell, The Word before the Powers (Westminster John Knox, 2002)

Jana Childers, Purposes of Preaching (Chalice Press, 2004)

Fred Craddock, As One without Authority, Second Edition (Chalice, 2001)

Richard Eslinger, The Web of Preaching: New Options in Homiletic Method (Abingdon, 2002)

Anna Carter Florence, Preaching as Testimony (Westminster John Knox, 2007)

Nancy Lammers Gross, If You Cannot Preach Like Paul (Eerdmans, 2002)

Lucy Lind Hogan, Graceful Speech: An Invitation to Preaching (Westminster John Knox Press, 2006)

Cleophus J. LaRue, Power in the Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare Their Sermons (Westminster John Knox, 2002)

Thomas Long, The Witness of Preaching, Second Edition (Westminster John Knox, 2005)

John McClure, Other-wise Preaching (Westminster John Knox, 2001)

Michael Pasquarello III, Christian Preaching: A Trinitarian Theology of Proclamation (Baker, 2006)

Paul Scott Wilson, The Practice of Preaching, Second Edition (Abingdon, 2007)