Homiletics is that discipline of theological sciences that studies the principles of how to proclaim the word of God to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.The purpose of homiletics is to develop the talents and gifts that a preacher possesses already through the endowment of the Holy Ghost. Moreover, through homiletics a preacher comes to know, practice and follow the principles that underlie the art of sound preaching.

It generally explores areas like:

1) the definition of and necessity for biblical preaching;

2) the exegetical principles for the preparation of a message;

3) the different characteristics of sermons, from their approach to the bible content (expository, textual or topical) to their presentation of an argument (deductive or inductive);

4) the techniques of delivery.

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I have been appealing to published research about the homiletic traditions of the Black Church, and it has been a revelation. For example, Evans E. Crawford wrote a near-poetic treatise called The Hum: Call and Response in African American Preaching that makes a persuasive argument that the preached message has an onus on it not only to impart biblical truth but to facilitate corporate worship. The sermon as worshipful act--as, indeed, the exhortative inducement of the congregation to partake in praise and adoration of God--is a dimension I have heretofore missed. 

I am making a conscious effort to exhibit this new understanding in my own preaching. I made a trial of ending my last message in a crescendo of praise. I took pains not to do this cheaply; not to just tack a whoop at the end of the taught message. Instead, I consciously sought, from the depth of my own spirit, a visceral reaction to the wonderful truths we were encountering through the word of God. I consciously rejoiced in the imparted word, and sought to use that as kindling for the congregation to catch fire as well. This made for a very different presentation than the church is used to from me, but I think they appreciated the effort. I sat down after five minutes of worshipful exhortation, and the pastor picked the baton right up and carried on the exhortation for another twenty minutes.


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