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How to Get Your Sermon Heard: Preaching to Win Minds and Hearts.

How to Get Your Sermon Heard: Preaching to Win Minds and Hearts. By William Hethcock. Sewanee, Tenn.: Plateau Books, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-9814-79545, 330 pages. Paper. $25.00.

Hethcock's How to Get Your Sermon Heard provides a valuable contribution to the homiletical conversation. While this may first appear as a textbook for introductory preachers, the most experienced homiletician will find valuable content within.

Hethcock begins with an approach to preaching that always originates with the Bible. Scriptural interpretation is vital for Hethcock's method, for, in his eyes, Christian sermons must arise from the Christian scriptures. Yet, he also demands deep attention to context.

Thus his Four Step Method: exegesis of the text, evaluation of the human condition in the textual context, evaluation of the human condition in the present context, and proclamation of the word to the present context. Hethcock guides the reader to begin with the text, consider the text's authorship and audience, and then consider the preacher's particular location in order to develop a proclamation that remains biblically faithful and yet contextually compelling.

Next, Hethcock launches into a number of particular preaching tasks, whether textual or situational. He provides salient advice on how to preach on complex books like Revelation and the Gospel of John, as well as how to approach the Old Testament as a whole. He also provides helpful advice for the contexts of marriages and funerals.

Hethcock discusses two vital points in this book that contribute significantly to the field. First, he devotes an entire chapter to the role of imagination in preaching. He provides examples and compels preachers to utilize their own imaginations--not only in exegetical interpretation but in sermonic presentation.

Perhaps equally important is Hethcock's reaffirmation of narrative preaching, sometimes called the "New Homiletic." In short, he suggests that the most effective sermons utilize a captivating plot that fittingly communicates the word to the people gathered.

For a valuable refresher or a first time introduction, How to Get Your Sermon Heard offers a fantastic resource for all preachers wishing to hone their craft.

Andrew Tucker

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Author:Tucker, Andrew
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2015
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