4 Models of Preaching

Notes taken from a class discussion on Thomas G. Long’s presentation of 4 models of preaching found in his book, The Witness of Preaching.

The Herald Model

Herald Model of PreacherKarl Barth popularized this model.

God is the king and the preacher is the herald delivering God’s message to the people.

The emphasis is on the delivery of the Word and being normed by the Scriptures.

This model doesn’t necessitate a dynamic speaker or any special speaking abilities.  It avoids the celebrity pastor trap.  The downside is that there is a disconnect between the preacher and the congregation.

The Pastor Model

The pastor looks to his congregation and sees their needs and then goes to the Word and Pastor Model of Preachingsees what his people need to hear from the Word and then gives that message to his congregation.

Emphasis is on the benefit of the hearers and is likely more guided by the Scriptures than normed by the Scriptures.

Intentionally seeks to preach to felt needs of the people.  A downside is that the pastor might tend to start with psychology and counseling before going to the Word.  This can lead to reading into the text.

The pastor might also speak to a particular situation that a particular congregant or two are dealing with, but those congregants don’t show up for that sermon.

Storytelling Model

Storytelling Model of PreachingPreaching through storytelling.

The Gospel itself is a story so this model sees storytelling as superior theologically.

This model combines the herald and the pastor models.

It is easier for people to find themselves in a story than in a lecture.  The sermon text becomes the story.  A downside is that this model is sometimes used to influence or move people emotionally. 

Witness Model

The congregation calls the preacher to the Word to deliver the sermon to them.  Witness Model of Preaching

The preacher has authority to preach because he has been called by the congregation and because he has wrestled with the text of the Word.

The preacher goes to the Scriptures with the congregation in mind and he testifies about Christ to them as his words are to convey the event and witness to what he has heard and seen from the Word of God.

Published by

Andy Wrasman

I live in Lilburn, GA, with my wife and two young kids. I am a pastor at Oak Road Lutheran Church. I've written a book called, Contradict - They Can't All Be True. Be sure to visit my other website: https://www.contradictmovement.org.

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