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Introductory Preaching

Unit Overview
In an information-rich context, seeking transformation through communication, not just transfer of information can be a challenge. Add to that the ancient text we want to share, and the question is: how can we take ancient words into the modern world and have them impact people’s hearts?

This unit gives students practical experience preparing and delivering sermons, but more than that, it gives them the opportunity to learn how to make the Bible come alive to people. In this unit, you will explore the nature and purpose of preaching, the identity and calling of the preacher, theological and pastoral issues in preaching, as well as the methods and techniques of public speaking.

Students will have three to four opportunities to preach and receive feedback from peers and as well as from an experienced preacher. They also have the opportunity to ask questions and develop strategies for sermon preparation.

As students learn to be themselves before God and the people they’re speaking to, they grow in their trust of God, not just in their public speaking skills. This is a vital unit for anyone wanting to learn how to better communicate God’s word.

Unit Details

Online  On-campus 
Workload  12 credit points 12 credit points
Status  Elective Elective
Subject code PC047 PC047
Prerequisites  48 credit points of foundational biblical studies 48 credit points of foundational biblical studies
When  Semester One Semester One
Teacher Mike Raiter Tim Foster
Reading List (Bibliography)  Online On-campus
*NOTE: the reading list is only accessible with a student online login 

Unit Content

Section A: An Introduction to Preaching

  • Preaching as the ministry of the Word; preaching and teaching; preaching and liturgy.
  • The aims, forms and context of preaching; consideration of classical models.
  • Preaching and the preacher; the person of the preacher; the relationship between preaching and personal spirituality.
  • Biblical Theology and its impact on the practice of preaching.

Section B: Preaching in Practice

  • An introduction to basic principles in exposition.
  • The components of a sermon, including introductions and conclusions, outlining, illustrations, applications, transitions, climaxes.
  • Methods and techniques of public speaking; contemporary methods in preaching

Section C: Field Work

  • The preparation and delivery of portions of a sermon in class for critique e.g. introduction, illustrations. Where possible video recording is to be used to assist in the critique. This will be done early in the conduct of the unit.
  • The preparation and delivery of four sermons  – two in a local church, one in the classroom and one as part of a Ridley chapel service. Full texts or notes are to be submitted to the congregational minister or college lecturer before each sermon is preached. Comments will also be obtained from three congregational members.

Study Expectations and Assessment (Online)
This unit runs over 12 weeks (1 semester) with weekly online learning materials, readings and activities. A significant proportion of your time and work in this unit will be devoted to preparing, delivering, and giving and receiving feedback on sermons.

The workload in this unit will be divided roughly as follows:

  • 3–4 hours per week preaching preparation & assignment work
  • 2 hours per week working through online materials
  • 2 hours per week on set online learning activity, including peer interaction and feedback
  • 2 hours per week on reading

Students are expected to preach 2 sermons in public during the semester, at least one should be expository. The other may be from a different text type or on a topic or given in an occasional or evangelistic context. Students will also need to prepare and record two ‘mini-sermons’, or portions of sermons such as introduction, illustrations, for peer feedback.

Public sermons can be preached at a place that is convenient to the student, usually the student’s own regular congregation. (Where it is not feasible for a student to preach in a public context, it may be possible to record a sermon to the camera.) All sermons must be video-recorded and the recording uploaded to the provided online space for review by the tutor and other students. For each public sermon, comments are to be obtained from at least one regular preacher present and at least two congregational members. Students should also submit a 500 word written critique of each sermon.

Mike Raiter (Online teacher) 
Mike Raiter is probably Melbourne’s most experienced preacher and teacher of preaching. Mike is currently the Director of the Centre for Biblical Preaching, an organisation that seeks to train and equip churches around the globe in expository preaching. Mike is also the author of a number of books, including Stirrings of the Soul: Evangelicals and the New Spirituality which won the 2004 SPCK Australian Christian Book of the Year Award. Mike worked with Church Missionary Society Australia and Interserve in Pakistan. From 2006–2011, Mike served as the principal of the Melbourne School of Theology.

Mike brings his many years of expertise and warm teaching style as the main video presenter for this online unit.

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