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Listening to Listeners: Homiletical Case Studies (Channels of Listening) [Paperback]

By John S. McClure (Author), Ronald J. Allen (Author) & Dale P. Andrews (Author)
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Item description for Listening to Listeners: Homiletical Case Studies (Channels of Listening) by John S. McClure, Ronald J. Allen & Dale P. Andrews...

Channels of Listening series is a four-volume series of homiletical resources designed to help preachers understand the factors that influence how sermons are heard and perceived and how preachers can use this information to preach more effective sermons. The series is the result of an in-depth study conducted by ten leading homileticians. Each book in the series focuses on a major finding of the study and offers practical implications for preaching. "This book introduces preachers to the essential tools of effective communication, demonstrates how to identify their effect in the talk of listeners, and then sends preachers out to become ethnographers of effective communication for their own congregations. Listening to Listeners is the rare book that provides preachers and students with real talk about how listeners experience a ministry of preaching as part of their own faith formation. If you long for more than 'Good sermon, pastor' and a handshake, this is the book of the real conversations preachers have been hungry to hear."

Publishers Description
Many preachers long to understand the dynamics of thought, feeling, and behavior at work in congregations. They use many techniques to evaluate the needs of their congregation and to sharpen their sermons, but preachers seldom give members of their congregation the opportunities to identify qualities of preaching that motivate them to engage sermons, and qualities of sermons that prompt disengagement. This book draws on one of the first large scale attempts in North America to do just that. Drawing on extensive interviews and analysis based on traditional rhetorical categories derived from Aristotle-the listener's perception of the character, personality and trustworthiness of the preacher (ethos), the appeals to reason in the content of the sermon (logos), and the role of feeling in the event of preaching (pathos)-the authors present case illustrations to help preachers listen pastorally to their own parishioners, to understand how their listeners' participation in the sermon is affected by the ethos, logos, and pathos, and how the pastor can use this understanding to preach in ways that engage listeners. Pastors are encouraged to compare and contrast their own perceptions of preaching with those expressed by their parishioners and to reflect more broadly and deeply about preaching in the preacher's own congregational setting.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Chalice Press
Pages   195
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.6" Width: 5.92" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2004
Publisher   Chalice Press
Series  Channels Of Listening  
ISBN  0827205007  
ISBN13  9780827205000  

Availability  90 units.
Availability accurate as of Sep 22, 2017 09:41.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About John S. McClure, Ronald J. Allen & Dale P. Andrews

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! G. Lee Ramsey, Jr., is Associate Professor of Pastoral Care at Memphis Theological Seminary Dale P. Andrews is Martin Luther King, Jr., Chair of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology and Co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology in Boston, MA.

John S. McClure has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Channels of Listening

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Preaching

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Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Listening to Listeners: Homiletical Case Studies (Channels of Listening)?

Do you hear what I hear?  Sep 4, 2004
This book is part of a four-volume series of homiletical (preaching) resources designed to aid those who preach understand more about the way their sermons are heard and understood. A team of noted scholars in the field of homiletics from several divinity schools and seminaries (including my own) worked together on this volume, and through sponsorship of the Lilly Endowment, brought together a diverse group of people from 28 area congregations to be part of the study. The purpose of this study, this volume and the others forthcoming, could be formed out of the statement in the preface to this volume, which the scholar team said to the congregation members -- 'Teach us how you listen to sermons so that we can help ministers become more effective preachers.'

This volume looks in detail at six particular interviews in that process, adopting a case study approach, five individuals and one small group of another five persons. These were selected as part of the overall group representative of many levels of diversity, along gender, racial, and geographic location lines. After describing briefly some procedural matters in the first chapter, the writers for this volume each took one chapter with an individual, or in Ron Allen's case in the final of these chapters, with the small group. The pattern for each chapter is the same -- a brief introduction of the person or group, some basic demographics about the church and community, and then a transcript of the interview itself. The interview transcript is set in double-column format with interview observations and links to the overall questions and themes throughout. Finally, each interview ends with a brief analysis of the Listening for Preaching, Listening for Theology, and the particular challenges brought out by the experiences of that individual's response.

After the interview sections, there are two chapters and an epilogue that discuss important issues -- chapter 8 looks at particular insights arising out of these experiences, which range from realisations of the importance of the community context to understanding that the several-thousand-year-old rhetoric ideas of Aristotle still ring true in many ways. Particularly with the small group session, but also in the individual interviews, the idea of the importance of community rises over and over.

The authors present a chapter on approaches to interviewing congregations -- perhaps this is a warning label type of chapter, 'kids, don't try this at home'. It is no simple matter to take a list of questions and begin asking people in a congregation, and the minister who would do this on her or his own is likely to end up creating unexpected problems. However, there are things that ministers can and should do to get in touch with their congregations, recognising that there is no normative or standard congregation against which their would be measured; the epilogue continues this idea with 'a confirmation, a caution and a call'. The caution is in the application of this study to any particular case. The confirmation is that preaching is central of community; the call is for ministers to work in humility with their communities.

There are several appendices in the book -- one of unannotated transcripts from two interviews, one of sample questions interviews can be with in this kind of process, and a final appendix that includes a more formal description of the Listening project.

It is obvious from the transcripts that the interviews were conducted with care and sensitivity to the individuals as well as the issues involved; sometimes events over-ride other plans, as Ron Allen described in his chapter, an interview with a small group conducted just a month after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The scholars also draw on their experience and study (for example, Dan Moseley comments that his interviewee, Jane, fits well into the model of Tex Sample's idea of ministry in an oral culture).

There is much here, and together with the forthcoming volumes, this promises to be a significant study of congregational life and listening, making the attentive preacher all the more qualified and capable at delivering what both God and the community hope.

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