Communication for Serving The Church

Welcome to Communication for Serving the Church!!

This is a class covering basic communication theory and its usage in service to your local church context. This class is for those who have opportunity to preach, teach, or lead a small group in their church context. This class is for those who read scripture or pray in church. This class is for anyone who wants to serve the church in anyway with communication.

There are five sessions:

  • Basic Communication
  • From Text to Message
  • From Message to Pew
  • Teaching
  • Public Prayer and Scripture Reading

There are readings for each session that formed part of the original class. Any of the books mentioned are worth your consideration, but a few are especially worth noting. If you were to buy just a few books to accompany this class, buy these:

  • Teresa L. Fry Brown, Delivering the Sermon, Elements of Preaching (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008).
  • Haddon W. Robinson, Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001).

Originally, this class was part of a Practicum requirement as part of the completion for an MDiv project. The original “test run” class was held at the Gathering in Bastrop, TX. The hope from the start, however, was that it would outlive itself and be usable for others for years to come. Regardless of what church tradition or denomination you come from, welcome! May you be blessed in your service to the Lord and His church. Amen.

First Edition of this Class published in October 2022

Session 1: Communication Basics

Here are some open-source textbooks that might be beneficial in your study of communication:

Readings for this session:

  • Lucy Lind Hogan, Graceful Speech: An Invitation to Preaching (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), Chapter 2, pgs. 15-30.
  • Teresa L. Fry Brown, Delivering the Sermon, Elements of Preaching (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008), Chapter 1, pgs. 5-14.

Session 2: From Text to Message

Here is a free book by leading New Testament scholar Craig Keener on interpreting scripture.

Here is a brief, selective, curated list of suggested books that would constitute a very basic (but effective) library to help aid you in your study. The total cost for the library in an Amazon cart was between $70-$100 at the time of this courses’s first edition. The price varies based on which Study Bible you choose.

  • The IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament
  • The IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament, Second Edition

ONE of the following Study Bibles:

  • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
  • CEB Study Bible
  • The NIV Study Bible

Readings for this session:

  • Karoline M. Lewis, A Lay Preacher’s Guide: How to Craft a Faithful Sermon (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2020), “Getting to Know the Biblical Text” in Chapter 1, pgs. 19-23.
  • Daniel Overdorf, One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills (Grand Rapids: Kregel Ministry, 2013), Chapter 12, pgs. 77-82.

Recommended for further learning:

Session 3: From Message to Pew

Here is a video that relates to the skills learned in this session. It is a poem by Taylor Mali called, “Totally Like Whatever, You Know?” It is about the importance of speaking with conviction and authority.

Here is a Ted Talk video of Amy Cuddy on how body language shapes who we are. The “power poses” mentioned in the practice exercises for this session’s notes packet are in this video.

Readings for this session:

  • Teresa L. Fry Brown, Delivering the Sermon, Elements of Preaching (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008),  Chapters 3-5, pgs. 29-74.
  • Daniel Overdorf, One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills (Grand Rapids: Kregel Ministry, 2013), Chapter 18, pgs. 113-118.

Recommended for further learning:

  • Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (New York: Workman Publishing, 2022).

Session 4: Teaching

Readings for this session:

  • Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill, The Discussion Book: 50 Great Ways to Get People Talking (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2016), Chapters 32, 36, 39, and 48, pgs. 165-167, 181-184, 193-195, 233-235.

Recommended for further learning:

  • Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill, The Discussion Book: 50 Great Ways to Get People Talking (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2016).

Session 5: Public Prayer and Scripture Reading

Here is a video by the Bible Project about the importance of the public reading of scripture.

Also check out these videos by Christine Parton Burkett as she discuses the public reading of scripture.

Finally, here is a video by the world’s leading New Testament scholar, N. T. Wright, on “the whole sweep of scripture.”

Readings for this session:

Recommended for further learning:

  • Public Reading of Scripture – This is the website of an excellent ministry seeking to encourage Christians to practice the public reading of scripture. There are helpful reading plans, audio bible access, suggestions for starting a small group to gather and read God’s word out loud together, and much more. They even offer weekly zoom meetings to commune with other believers and hear God’s word read aloud.