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How to Preach to Transform Lives

Effective preaching requires several elements. For one, it is important that listeners form an emotional connection with the characters and narrative. That is, the drama of the Scriptures has to come alive for contemporary audiences, otherwise there will be no moment when the listener says "I care what happens in this story!" If that relationship is not formed, there can be no transfer of the story's message for life today.

In an extensive, three-hour presentation at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship's 2014 Worship Seminar, Jeff Manion, the founder and senior teaching pastor at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, explores the power of connecting listeners to Scripture through preaching, and what makes preaching effective, in the two-hour first session.

In the one-hour second session, a panel of 2014 Seminar preachers share how they each accomplish the task, thus offering a range of examples of how to approach preaching to transform lives. Relatedly, in an hour-long audio recording of a 2010 Worship Seminar presentation, seminary presidents Richard Mouw and Cornelius Plantinga Jr., share the lessons they have learned about preaching through 40 years of listening to and delivering sermons. A key, Plantinga says, is to trust the text; that is, to learn from the Bible rather than bring things to the passage. Mouw highlights the importance of authenticity in preaching, the discipline of the lectionary, the importance of the whole of the worship experience, and the power of media to support liturgy.

For more preaching guidance and resources, see our article, "Best Resources for Sermons," and search "Sermons" on our website. For more worship development guidance and resources, see "Best Resources on Worship."

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