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Making a Scene in the Pulpit

Vivid Preaching for Visual Listeners

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Westminster John Knox Press
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How can preachers ensure that their sermons continue to engage listeners in a world defined by visual media and the short, segmented delivery of information? Alyce McKenzie harnesses the element of drama and the human fascination with scenes to offer ministers a modern means of sermon development and delivery.

McKenzie’s core strategy is to invite listeners into scenes—whether from Scripture or contemporary life—and, once they are there, to point them toward the larger story of God’s relationship with humankind. Creating such scenes unifies the whole process of preaching, she says, from the preacher’s daily life observations to interpretation of scenes from Scripture, to sermon shaping, sequencing, and delivery. The process culminates in a specific understanding of the purpose of the sermon: to send listeners out into the scenes they’ll play in their lives for the next week, equipped to act out their parts in ways that are kinder, more just, and more courageous than last week.

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Alyce M. McKenzie is Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship and Director of the Center for Preaching Excellence at Perkins School of Theology. She is the author of several books, including Novel Preaching: Tips from Top Writers on Crafting Creative Sermons

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“Dr. Alyce McKenzie’s “Making a Scene in the Pulpit” utilizes ‘scenes’ from scripture, real life and one’s own experiences to craft sermons that help the Word that is preached become the Word that is heard. In addition to providing this basic homiletical tool, she shares preachers, resources, sermon examples, bibliographies and tools for incorporating the use of scenes in sermons. Quite simply, Dr. McKenzie’s latest book is ‘must-read’ for all who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an age of short attention spans, biblical illiteracy, and digital chatter.”
--Gary E. Mueller, Resident Bishop, Arkansas Conference, The United Methodist Church

“Creating vivid scenes from personal experience, Biblical narratives, and contemporary happenings, Alyce McKenzie offers valuable lessons for preachers to proclaim the Gospel. Engaging with her work will help preachers craft memorable and thought-provoking sermons.” -Bishop Michael McKee, North Texas Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church

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List Price: $28.00
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