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This dissertation argues that to help transform a postmodern heart and mind in the United States today, sermons should be biblically faithful, insightful, relevant, conversational, short, and serve as a humble invitation to participate in various spiritual disciplines for further personal exploration. Through an initial overview of postmodernity and current trends in communication, the case will be made that in today’s sound-byte culture sermons should be shorter. In postmodernity, a dialogue format is preferred to a long monologue, so sermons should be inductive not deductive in style, and should serve as a conversation starter not an exhaustive claim to truth.

Recent church studies have also revealed that spiritual transformation most often happens when one faithfully practices various spiritual disciplines. It is argued that in a postmodern context, where truth is ultimately based on experience, the sermon should invite its listeners to practice some type of spiritual discipline as a part of its application if it wants to help transform the listener. It will be shown that Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount followed this basic format.

Finally, an exegetical process will be outlined that moves from Scripture text to current cultural context. In this process of preparation a conversation begins in the pastor’s study where one reads and ask questions of the text. This conversation continues with commentaries, then with the culture, and finally with one’s congregants. This dissertation will then provide different inductive sermon outlines that are often used by some of the most effective preachers today. Finally, a unique process that seeks to bring the best of several approaches into one outline will be provided as well as tips on writing for the ear and eye.

Content Reader: Keith Matthews, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Matthews, Keith

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Postmodernism; Preaching; Sermons; Spiritual formation; Presbyterian Church; Spiritual exercises


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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