Preaching Methods

Capuchin Popular Mission

I Corinthians 9:16. It says, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”

Sharing On Capuchin Popular Mission

History of Popular Sermon:

The popular sermon was a type of sermon in vernacular, the language of common people that was commonly delivered by Catholic friars of the Franciscan and Dominican orders in the Middle Ages, on Sundays, Feast Days, and other special dates.


A sermon focuses on an aspect of a selected theme taken from the Gospel reading of the day. The popular sermon began with a theme, a lesson based on the gospel of the day. The prothema or antethema, a statement or prayer by the preacher, followed the theme. Sometimes the preacher skipped the protheme and delivered a prelocution, proof of the theme, by citing sources of authority instead. The theme was followed by the process of multiple parts of the theme which are the historical, symbolic and the mystical. Finally, the sermon would close with a recitation and a benediction (blessing).


The popular sermon was delivered in local churches, to people of high and low estate. When the churches were too small to contain the audience, the sermon was then moved to the public green. In either setting, the audience was usually unconstrained and could be rude and discourteous to the preacher. It was not uncommon for the people in attendance to move freely about and socialize with one another, address the friar, or walk out on the friar in the middle of his sermon. Thus, to keep the attention of the people, the popular sermon needed to be short and include elements which the people could relate to or find interest in.
The friar might tell an anecdote, use folklore or verse sermon. To help make a point, it was not uncommon for the friar to embellish concerns of good and evil. The friar would use the occasional large word or a word from a foreign language to impress the lay audience. The result was a vibrant, creative and well-received sermon.

Training and licensure:

All friars were required to be trained and licensed by the church before they were allowed to preach. The friars studied treatises on sermon making. These treatises dictated that the preacher should speak slowly, clearly and in a serious manner; he was to remain focused; he should dress, speak, and behave in a conservative manner; and, when speaking, he should neither stand still nor be loud with his gestures. Although the treatise dictated the friars follow these directives, the friars bent the rules as they saw fit.

Published sermons:

The friars wrote their own sermons or they based their sermon upon the written works of other friars and clergy. The four classifications of the popular sermon were the improvised, the prepared, the memorized, and the read. Many of the popular sermons from this era were published meaning that they were either preached in the vernacular or written down in Latin, but not necessarily both. Most of the written sermons that were later preached were not verbatim to the written word. As the sermon was written in Latin and the oratory was done in the vernacular, the words changed with the translation. This is the dual nature of the popular sermon.
The most accurate resources available to us today are the sermons that were written by a person of the clergy in the audience who took notes and formally recorded with the intent to be used as a resource. A great number of these documents are available today in manuscript form; some are available in published collections. These popular sermons provide an authentic insight to the people and the times.

Six preaching methods of Jesus :

I think we can all agree that Jesus is the greatest preacher to ever walk the face of the Earth. As preachers, if there is anyone you should imitate in your preaching it is Jesus.

So how did Jesus preach?

  1. Jesus Told Stories: Jesus told countless parables (Mark 4:34). He pulled spiritual truth from everyday life. Not only did these stories make Jesus’ preaching more memorable, they also connected in much more profound way. Think about the parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus could have proclaimed, “God loves you so much that He will welcome you back to Him no matter how far you have wandered away.” That is definitely true. If we want to preach like Jesus, tell stories. Lots of them. Use examples from everyday life to teach spiritual truth.
  2. Jesus Shocked People: Jesus often used exaggeration. He taught using outrageous examples, exaggerations, or shocking statements that got people’s attention. These statements were not all meant to be taken literally, but they definitely got the point across. For example Jesus did not really mean we have to rip out our eyes and amputate our hands for causing us to sin (Matthew 5:29-30). Jesus said things that shocked people and exaggerated the truth to emphasize His point. If we want to preach like Jesus, Shock people and exaggerate a little with your questions. Say shocking things that aren’t meant to be literal, but grab attention and communicate the point clearly.
  3. Jesus Crafted Memorable Sayings: Jesus spoke poetically. He often used catchy sayings and plays on words. This is not always apparent in English translations. However, in the original language, Jesus made it much easier for his listeners to remember what he said. For example, Jesus memorably said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:37-38).If your people remember the message; they will be able to take it with them wherever they go.
  4. Jesus Asked Questions: Rather than tell everyone the answer right away, Jesus used the Socratic Method. He led His audience to conclusions by asking a lot of questions. (For examples check out Matthew 16:26, or 22:20-21). Questions are a powerful teaching method, especially when teaching a hostile crowd. Questions stimulate critical thinking. Asking good questions makes the audience hungry to find the answers. If you want to preach like Jesus, ask a lot of questions. Do not reveal the answer immediately. Help your audience use their own brains.
  5. Jesus Used Object Lessons: Jesus often used object lessons to communicate to his audience. He washed the feet of the disciples to teach servant leadership (John 13:3–17). He called a little child to him to discuss childlike faith (Matthew 18:1–4). He described unselfish giving after watching a widow drop two small coins into the temple offering (Mark 12:41–44). If we want to preach like Jesus, use objects lessons. Block out time in your sermon preparation to be creative. Think of ways to communicate our message visually.
  6. Jesus Used Repetition: Jesus helped his audience learn His lessons by frequently repeating Himself. He taught the same major themes again and again. For example, Jesus spoke of his death and resurrection over and over again (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34), and the disciples still didn’t get it. Sometimes people need to hear something many times over before it fully sinks in. If we want to preach like Jesus, repeat. Find the main point of our message and say it again and again, and don’t be afraid to preach on important subjects more than once a year.

Meaning of Sermon :

A sermon is an oration, lecture, or talk by a member of a religious institution or clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of the sermon often include exposition, exhortation and practical application.

The word sermon is used to describe many famous moments in Christian (and Jewish) history. The most famous example is the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus of Nazareth. This address was given around 30 AD, and is recounted in the Gospel of Matthew (5:1-7:29) including introductory and concluding material) as being delivered on a mount on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. It is also contained in some of the other gospel narratives. Christian tradition: In Christianity, a sermon is typically identified as an address or discourse delivered to an assembly of Christians, typically containing theological or moral instruction. Although it is often called a homily, the original distinction between a sermon and a homily was that a sermon was delivered by a clergyman (licensed preacher) while a homily was read from a printed copy by a layman.

The Dominican Order is officially known as the Order of Preachers. Friars of this order were trained to publicly preach in vernacular languages. The Franciscans are another important preaching order; Travelling preachers, usually friars, were an important feature of late medieval Catholicism. In most denominations, modern preaching is kept below forty minutes, but historic preachers of all denominations could at times speak for several hours, and use techniques of rhetoric and theatre that are today somewhat out of fashion in mainline churches. Preaching in a Postmodern Culture: It is the heart of every preacher to reach the lost and disciple them in the ways of Christ. But some of us will never be successful at doing this because we do not understand the postmodern culture around us. The fact is, preaching effectively in today's world requires a significantly different approach from preaching in prior decades.

How can we best connect with and challenge the postmodern listener?
The following four principles provide a good starting point.
  • Rule No. 1: Do not engage listeners at the expense of the message.
  • Rule No. 2: Follow the rules of effective communication.
  • Rule No. 3: Risk getting involved with the listeners.
  • Rule No. 4: Address the real world in which your listeners live.

Five Toxic Behaviors in the Pulpit:

Preaching can be powerful when the preacher is fully submitted to the Lord and fully committed to pursuing excellence in the pulpit. Sadly, not every preacher meets these criteria. Over the course of a lifetime, pressures mount, circumstances change and hearts can be led astray. When this happens to a preacher, the result can be an ugly mess that leaves a battered congregation in its wake. As we continue to read, consider whether or not these toxic behaviors are present in our preaching. Perhaps we are not a preacher.

1. Anger:

Anger is perhaps the most toxic and volatile behavior a preacher can exhibit. It’s what happens when bitterness is allowed to fester and arrogance is left unchecked. When anger rears its ugly heaed in a sermon, we can be sure that it is the outworkinge of the preacher’s inner turmoil. Anger with a microphone is detrimental to the health of the church. Anger can take many different forms in a sermon, and all of them are toxic.

2. Arrogance:

Proverbs 16:18 teaches us that, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” This means it’s dangerous for anyone to walk in arrogance, but when a preacher exudes arrogance from the pulpit, it is fully amplified and on display for all to see. Like anger, arrogance can take many forms. When a preacher postures himself to be the hero in every sermon illustration, we can start to see the arrogance. When a preacher believes he has all the answers that nobody has ever thought of before, we are seeing arrogance on display. Boasting about accomplishments or education can also be a form of arrogance.

3. Sarcasm:

Sarcasm is our words working against us. It’s when we say one thing, but we mean another. At first glance, this might seem harmless. We could make excuses for sarcasm by saying things like, “That’s just my sense of humor.” But there are several deep implications to this toxic behavior.
Sarcasm is literally saying one thing and meanring another.
It is being two-tongued. It is inconsistent with the biblical concept of being forthright. Christians are supposed to say what they mean and mean what they say. If sarcasm is a dangerous practice for followers of Christ, how much more dangerous is it for the preacher to model sarcasm in a sermon? It cuts people down instead of building them up. Sarcasm is intrinsically destructive. Its sole purpose is to cleverly manipulate irony in order to mock or ridicule someone.

4. Shaming:

Calling out your congregation is a big problem. Shaming them for not attending regularly enough is a really bad idea. Nobody wants a preacher who belittles them or tells them they’re not good enough. Shaming people for their sin is the quickest way to lose the attention of both sinners and saints. I’m not saying you shouldn’t address sin. You should. But don’t humiliate people from pulpit. Sometimes, shaming takes the form of passive aggression. This is when you hear a snide comment that is intended to mock others in an indirect way. Shaming is always reprehensible whether it is done directly or indirectly. Shaming is a serious misappropriation of spiritual authority. It is a toxic behavior that should be corrected immediately.

5. Passivity:

The last toxic behavior on the list is passivity. As with the other toxic behaviors, passivity can take many forms. In some, it manifests itself the preacher's laziness. If the preacher is unwilling to put in the time necessary to accurately and passionately proclaim the word of God, then he has grown passive and his congregation may suffer from a form of spiritual anemia. Another common form of passivity is a preacher's unwillingness to take a stand on the core issues of the faith. There are many issues on which Christians may disagree and continue fellowship, but where Scripture speaks clearly, the preacher should repeat. Any preacher who refuses to affirm Scripture as true and boldly articulate its content is displaying toxic passivity, and this passivity will actively derail the church.

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