Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
James J. North, Jr.
Problem. Recent trends in homiletics emphasize preaching about the listeners’ felt-needs. Often the nature of prophetic-preaching requires the preacher to address needs that are not felt by the listeners. This present study was to create a homiletical strategy for preaching unpopular truths and about needs that are unperceived by the listeners. This study was also to identify some unpopular truths and unperceived needs of the Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church that were to be addressed in a series of sermons.
Method. A biblical study was conducted into the role of the preacher as prophet. This study compared the techniques used by Jesus and various biblical characters to bring about change. The counsel o f Ellen White pertaining to the presentation of unpopular truths and preaching toward a change was analyzed. Contemporary literature pertaining to persuasive communication, conflict management, and prophetic preaching was also investigated. This research was used in devising a homiletical strategy for preaching about unpopular truths and unperceived needs. Questionnaires were devised to ascertain what listeners consider to render a sermon effective and to identify unpopular truths and unperceived needs in the Spokane Valley SDA Church. These questionnaires were administered to the Spokane Valley SDA congregation, pastors o f the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and administrators of the same Conference as well as the North Pacific Union Conference of SDA. Data acquired from these questionnaires were used in creating the homiletical strategy and for determining what were unpopular truths and unperceived needs. A series of eight sermons addressing unpopular truths and unperceived needs was preached to the Spokane Valley SDA congregation, four utilizing the homiletical strategy and four not using the strategy or ignoring it. A questionnaire was administered following each sermon, involving a preselected group of approximately 30 members, and a feedback session involving this same group was conducted at the conclusion o f the sermon series. The data received from the post-sermon questionnaires and feedback session were used to determine the effectiveness o f each sermon.
Results. The homiletical strategy discovered and created was the inductive method requiring intentional consideration o f a three-pronged process— care-fronting process, prophetic process, and designing process. All sermons appeared to effectively address the unpopular truths and unperceived needs o f the Spokane Valley SDA congregation. However, there appeared to be no difference in the effectiveness of the four sermons utilizing the homiletical strategy when compared to the four sermons ignoring or not using the strategy.
Conclusions. It is the calling of the preacher to follow the example of the prophet-preachers of the Bible. This will demand preaching for change in the hearts and minds of the listeners. Unpopular truths and unperceived needs may be effectively addressed in the pulpit Furthermore, although sermons employing the three-pronged homiletical strategy were not judged by listeners as being more effective than other strategies, they did prove to be just as viable. Therefore, preachers may consider using the proposed strategy when they have to preach to their listeners’ unfelt needs.
Seventh-day Adventist preaching
Ferguson, Charles Rayburn, "Prophetic Preaching to Resistant Audiences: a Call for Change" (2001). Project Documents. 45.
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