All right, let me be straight foward here. No one has an affinity for preaching particualry sermonic celebration then me! Well save maybe Rev. Dr. M.J. Simmons who is currently writting the much anticipated anthology on Black preaching. She is the quenn of Black preaching! With that being said I need to post a serious series of questions:

  1. How can one know when there sermon was effective? I mean really ought we assess our sermonic success via congregational interaction? Is it likeley that people can even really concentrate and commit to memory our life shaping discourse while screaming back "Amen" and "Say it" to us while simultaneously tapping, slapping and touching their neighbor? Moreover, all of us I dare say it have at some point either played church, watched kids play church, or have playfully chit-chatted about church enough to know that we can all feign, fake or play shout. What's to say that congregants don't do the same? Perhaps many are just conditioned to respond to certain organ chords, certain tonal inflections, and perhaps much of the pandemonium praise we elicit through sermon is crowd influenced mob behavior? In short, I am asking my brothers and sisters for a viable means for assessing the sermonic task, by viable I mean a tangible observable means, while I do beleive after doing the deed it ought to "be well with one's soul" in this petition however, I am calling for more than that.
  2. Speaking of celebration and it's effectiveness at eliciting emotive response from a congregation, I feel the need to pose this question: when is enough.....well enough? Do you beleive it is possible to over do it?
  3. Is it a sermon if I do not go to Golgotha and close at the cross? What If I am preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures? Or preaching in the Advent season, must I always hasten to the cross? I admit, I love hearing the passion narrative and I am planning on having 1 Cor. 2:2 inked indeliably on my body, so no one is more cross crazy than yours truly, however, I feel the need to raise this relevant question, is a sermon salvific if it has no mention of the cross. Let me give a bit more insight as to why this issue is a concern for me. In Christ I beleive God reconciled the world to God's self. No doubt, however the atonemnet theory (Jesus' death for our sins) is but one of the many ways of talking about Jesus' redemptive tenure here on earth. Might we as preachers find other salvific means of expressing God's love for us by preaching the full gospel. By full gospel I mean the multitude of ways in which God saves us! I am not dismissing the cross, not even, but what I am doing is pushing for us as preachers to take God and God's gospel out of the box we've cognitively configured to put Him in. I am hoping that we can open our eyes, ears, minds and spirits to the Holy Spirit that He may direct us into a fuller understanding of the significance of Christ's life. I beleive that there is much salvation in the birth, life, death, and Ressurection of Jesus! I am disheartened that we often Jesus' significance to one defining moment in time.
Your comments, questions, considerations are wanted, welcomed, and warrented

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Comment by Ryan D. McDonald, Sr. on November 4, 2008 at 7:46pm
The effectiveness of a sermon is seen in the fruit it produces. As preachers, we plant seeds. So let's use an agricultural illustration. When a tree begins to grow it is full of leaves. It's leaves provide great things. It produces shade. It produces seen activity of some growth. The same can be said of preaching. Our preaching produces a place where the congregation feels comfortable and knows that God hears them! (shade) Our preaching produces excitement that moves the congregation and shows their desire to serve God. (activity). But what is shade and activity worth without fruit. Fruit not only changes our lives but helps to change others lives. When we actually begin to walk in the sermon we hear then we as preachers know exactly the effectiveness of our preaching!
My next answer is simple all of what Jesus did was in anticipation of going to the cross! Now I don't feel that the cross should always be our close, but Calvary should be visited!
Comment by Dr. Candace House on February 20, 2008 at 12:01pm
I love what you have to say concerning preaching a total message. If people are not taught the totality of the Gospel then how can they grow and flourish?

I have been in church all of my life and I know that people know how to DO church! But where is the growth? If the message of Christ is not preached in it's fullness then you are left with a bunch of people feeling good for a minute but not able to weather the storm during the duration.

Thank you for sharing minister.
Comment by D.Brandon Campbell on December 10, 2007 at 10:43am
Interesting. Taking God out of the box. I love it.

We in the western civilzation have undeniably postioned Christ in a portmanteau where we can take him out and place him back in as we please. A portmanteau being portable and double sided we have consummately made Christ to be double sided and portable. He's one way for us (or our denomination) and another way for everyone else. He's portable in the sense that we put him away when we don't need him, and take him back out around the church folks!

So I feel you there Min Harris.

And even though the fulminating praise of the crowd (or mob as you put it) does appealto our emotions, we must come to grips that we are simply preaching a "feel good" sermon sometimes (and there's nothing wrong with that so long as there's meat on the bone) and not really affecting change.
Now who's treading on heavy gorund! LOL

Be blessed beyond your wildest dreams!
Min. BCam
Comment by Sherman Haywood Cox II on November 9, 2007 at 4:36pm
Interesting question. Overdoing Celebration. I think that the key is that Genuine Celebration has within it the key to keep from "overdoing it." As long as you are celebrating the gospel revealed in the sermon and you are not detracting from the gospel revealed in the sermon, you will be all right.

However, sometimes we can find ourselves using celebration to hide our lack of preparation or our lack of a solidly Gospel proclaiming message. In those instances we are not celebrating the Gospel, but tacking on something that will obliterate the Gospel Presentation...
Comment by George L Parks,Jr. on November 8, 2007 at 2:12pm
prof. Harris you have raised some great questions. I believe we can over do it in our celebration often causing people not to critically reflect on what they should engage in after the sermon. I belive the only way one can truly measure the effectiveness of a message is if it has changed a persons thinking and actions and that cannot be judged in a 20 to 40 minute sermon.I believe one does not half to explicitly go to the cross in preaching. Preaching in and of itself is salvific in nature. We can mess up the organic nature of a sermon by mechanically screwing on calvary and the ressurection. Iam not sayingthat calvary and the ressurection is not important.

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