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Ingredients of Rhetorical Power

How well does this message use language?

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It is easy to produce a sermon that is consistent with the truth of the text. To bring that truth to bear on the audience's problem in a way that moves the heart and motivates listeners to respond is more difficult. That kind of preaching requires the diagnostic skill of a physician, the artistic soul of a poet, and the vocal power of an orator.

The clinic sermon " Finding Our Way Home " moves in the right direction by using images and phrases that the audience can easily identify with. The sermon opens with " It was a dark and stormy night. " This does more than bring to mind the image of a favorite comic strip; it becomes the overarching metaphor for the entire message.

Concrete word pictures also enable us to visualize specific scenes that symbolize a problem or feeling. All too often we simply state facts. To remind listeners what it feels like to fail, we might say, " When we lose a job, watch a child make a mistake, or go through a divorce, we often feel ...

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