This unit explores the theological foundations and contemporary practice of preaching. Drawing on the long tradition of viewing preaching as a form of persuasive rhetoric, the course introduces key features of the event of Christian proclamation: the identity and role of the preacher, the importance of the audience, and the content of the sermon. Insights from contemporary homiletical theory will be offered, and particular attention is paid to the use of the Bible in preaching. The unit includes an in-class practicum where preaching skills can be demonstrated and assessed.

Unit code: DP9222P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Identify and describe the main components of preaching from the perspective of communication and rhetorical theory.


Articulate a theological rationale for the practice of preaching as a constituent part of Christian worship.


Critically evaluate alternative models and modes of preaching and biblical engagement in relation to their own practice.


Critically reflect upon their own preaching and that of others with a view to developing their understanding and skills.


Craft a sermon that demonstrates the integration of theological and exegetical insights with an awareness of rhetorical theory

Unit sequence

Students should ideally have completed at least one unit each in introductory biblical studies (BN, BS, or BA) and introduction to theology (CT). No prior preaching units are required.


The unit will begin by laying theoretical foundations through lectures, tutorial preparation and discussion. The second half of the unit will include (1) case studies, critically engaging with a range of sermons and preaching styles and (2) preaching practicum where all students will preach, receive peer feedback, formal assessment, and engage in structured self-reflection.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Carter Florence, Anna. Preaching as Testimony. Louisville / London: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
  • Childers, Jana. (ed.) The Purposes of Preaching. Nashville: Chalice Press, 2004.
  • Long, Thomas G. The Witness of Preaching.3rd ed. Louisville: Westminster / John Knox, 2016.
  • Lose, David. Preaching at the Crossroads: How the World—and our Preaching— Is Changing. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013. (EBook)
  • Pasquarello III, Michael. Sacred Rhetoric: Preaching as a Theological and Pastoral Practice of the Church. Grand Rapids / Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2005.
  • Travis, Sarah. Decolonizing Preaching: The Pulpit as Postcolonial Space. Eugene: Cascade, 2014 (EBook)
  • Troeger, Thomas H., Tubbs Tisdale, Leonora. A Sermon Workbook: Exercises in the Art and Craft of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 2013. (EBook)
  • Tubbs Tisdale, Leonora. Preaching as Local Theology and Folk Art. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997.
  • Wells, Samuel. Speaking the Truth: Preaching in a Diverse Culture. Norwich: Canterbury, 2018.
  • Turner, Michael, and William Malambri, (eds). A Peculiar Prophet: William H. Willimon and the Art of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 2004.
  • Wilson, Paul Scott. The Practice of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 2007.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Literature Survey 2000 25.0
Critical Review

Analysis of a sermon

1500 20.0
Oral Presentation 2000 25.0

Written Sermon

2000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 18 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-01-19 09:05:15 +1100