By Dominique A. Robinson
When it comes to social media, it seems as though videography and live recording have washed imagery and wording right out. People no longer want to read long posts and they do not want to stare at a still shot. They want to see it all in motion – and feel it!
So it is with preaching.
Here is where iHomiletic serves as a relevant tool for sermon preparation and execution. iHomiletic™ is a method of preaching that employs social media linguistics and technology. As a matter of fact, it encourages preachers to use technology and social media in the actual preaching moment and not in a surface manner. iHomiletic™ offers guides for preachers to consider the various tenets of a social media platform and use them for their development and execution of sermons. For example, let’s consider Twitter (the old 140-character limit version).
What do we know?
We have 140 characters to express a “sermon” that offers content, scriptural foundation, and application. With this in mind, think of a subject. iHomiletic™ would recommend you address a trending topic. Now that you have a subject, think about what theological claim you would like to make and what scripture you would use to support that claim or vice versa depending on your sermon development style. Now with what you have, how do you create a 140-character sermon that gets all of that across?
- Make your subject your hashtag. Then subtract the number of characters that your hashtag requires so that you are clear on how many more characters you have left to convey your theological claim and biblical foundation on said trending.
- Develop your theological claim. What are you saying God is saying about this subject?
- Determine the scriptural reference you will use as a foundation for your sermon.
- Think about what can be said in your remaining character allotment that embodies your theological claim, addresses your subject and makes your scriptural reference obvious.
- Consider making a hashtag for your scriptural reference.
- Try it. You’ll only perfect this by trial and error – do not post/share until you know you have it “right.”
This seems pretty easy at the on-set but once you start the exercise you may encounter a few issues, i.e. character shortage, finding the right abbreviations, how to spell a word using characters, and so on.
Here are a few examples of successful Tweet sermons from the 2018 National Festival of Young Preachers iHomiletic™ Master Class:
Even Kings will be held accountable. Thank you Nathan for your support! #MeToo #iPreach18 #iHomiletic
Subject: the #MeToo movement
Theological Claim: Everyone will be held accountable in this epidemic of sexual misconduct.
Scripture: 2 Samuel 12
Get out of your seat and turnover the table! #buybacknfl #bringbackjustice #iPreach18
Subject: Black celebrities (Puff Daddy) speak of purchasing NFL teams amidst racial divides
Theological Claim: righteous discontent has its place
Scripture: Matthew 21:12-13
If God is my refuge, then why is my preacher packing? #iPreach18 #iHomiletic #psalm46
Subject: Gun laws
Theological Claim: God is our real protector; we should not live in fear and allow that fear to drive our need/desire for guns.
Scripture: Psalm 46
As you can see from the above sermons/tweets, a powerful packed message can be developed and produced even in the Twitter world. Imagine, now that we no longer have the 140-character limit of adding memes, photos, GIFs or emojis. An entire sermon is conveyed, and the Word of God is made available throughout the world.
Give it a try.
*The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author(s) or speaker(s) and do not represent the beliefs or positions of the Academy of Preachers. The distribution of content by Academy of Preachers is an effort to fulfill our mission to Identify, Network, Support, and Inspire young people in their call to gospel preaching. Our network and participants are widely diverse in geography, ethnicity, culture, gender, theology, tradition, and practice. We give space for those in our network to contribute their unique voices to a global conversation on gospel preaching and Christian ministry.
About the author…