Dr. Sarah Bogue, Head of Research and Access Services at the Pitts Theology Library, will lead a Master Class, sponsored by the American Theological Library Association, at the 2019 National Festival of Young Preachers titled; “The Research Side of Sermon Prep.”
Sarah, who has a PhD in Medieval history and is an ordination candidate in the Presbyterian Church (USA), understands the sometimes stressful intersection of sermon preparation and the demands of ministry.
“As a candidate for ordination and a teacher of busy seminary students, I absolutely understand the many demands on a pastor’s time. The research side of biblical studies, known as exegesis, often falls off the to-do list when other pastoral duties take precedent.”
However, she teaches her students that proper research, analysis, and exegesis are important for preaching.
“I think it’s safe to say that good preaching grounds a timely, contextual message in solid analysis of a timeless biblical text.”
At her Master Class, Sarah plans to teach Young Preachers a general framework for exegeting a Biblical text.
“To help organize the exegesis process, we will be using the framework provided by Dr. Tom Long in his book, ‘The Witness for Preaching’. The first phase of exegesis for preaching involves ‘listening to the text,’ which requires the preacher to study specific words in the text, pay attention to form and content, and do some basic concordance work.”
Sarah says that opening the commentaries too early in the process could prevent you from hearing the text for yourself.
“Beginning with your own analysis is absolutely paramount– it is very difficult to un-hear someone else’s analysis, especially if that someone is a famous theologian who has written countless commentaries. After the first phase, based on the information gleaned in the analysis phase, preachers can then go to commentaries and other secondary literature to ‘test what they heard’ in the text.”
Many Young Preachers will be glad to hear that they do not need long, laborious processes or extensive, expensive resources in order to properly prepare for their sermon.
“This workshop is designed to help you get the information you need to do good solid biblical analysis, but in the quickest, most efficient timeframe possible! It will empower you to be a creative and impactful interpreter of biblical texts—using primarily freely accessible and online tools. We will also discuss how to build a personal library of authoritative and well-researched books on a budget.”
If you want to improve your sermon preparation or any part of your preaching, register now for the 2019 National Festival of Young Preachers to experience this and other great Master Classes, hear inspiring sermons, receive professional and constructive feedback, and grow your network of ministry peers!
Also, ATLA is providing free trial access to their online ATLA Serials database to all Young Preachers who register for the National Festival! Learn more about their resources here.
Sarah Bogue is the Head of Research and Access Services at the Pitts Theology Library and holds a PhD in Medieval History from Emory University. She received a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her role at Pitts allows her to combine her academic and pastoral interests in the service of future ministers.