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Liturgical Press

Making Good Preaching Better

A Step-by-Step Guide to Scripture-Based, People-Centered Preaching

Alvin C. Rueter

Making Good Preaching Better
Making Good Preaching Better

ISBN: 9780814622155, 2215

Details: 288 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 02/01/1997
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Making Good Preaching Better explores not the preaching of ethics but the ethics of preaching. Using sound theology and practical insights, this book shows that by putting themselves in the place of the people in the pews, preachers can improve their sermons and make good preaching better more consistently.

Written with the practicing homilist in mind, Making Good Preaching Better helps motivate and sharpen the skills of those in preaching ministry. Laid out as a teaching tool for classroom use, it also makes the work of the homiletic professor easier.

Reverend Rueter explains how the same qualities - visual, oral, cohesive - that make it possible for preachers to remember their sermons also make it possible for parishioners to remember these sermons. He also explores concepts not covered in other homiletics books, such as the legitimate appeal to self-interest as observed in Jesus, Paul, and Moses, how to deal with "hard," controversial topics, and tips for remembering homilies.

Reverend Rueter bases his approach on the time-proven step-by-step pedagogy used in the first-century schools of rhetoric. He believes that requiring novices to prepare whole homilies for criticism presents too many possibilities for failure and thus discouragement. With its step-by-step homiletical exercises, Making Good Preaching Better gives students greater possibilities of the joy of success in putting together entire homilies—one step at a time.

Making Good Preaching Better offers three-minute oral exercises to be performed before a video camera. Each exercise uses the theological/homiletical principles explained in that chapter and includes suggestions on how to conduct the video lab sessions without provoking dread but rather, by promoting affirmation. Fourteen homilies (by the author and others) are supplied for both professionals and novices to critique. To supplement the instruction, recommendations for additional readings are provided at the end of each chapter.

Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy, seminarians, and those in Roman Catholic diaconate formation programs will benefit from this practical textbook.

Reverend Rueter wrote this book asking several questions: "How does rhetoric agree with Christian theology?" "Why aren't homiletics books laid out as teaching tools?" and "Why don't we teach homilists the skills of rhetoric?" He answers with Making Good Preaching Better. Alvin C. Rueter, Ph.D., a Lutheran pastor, conducts preaching workshops and teaches homiletics in the Formation Program for Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He also teaches homiletics at the School of Theology, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He also hosts and produces a weekly radio program, Sing for Joy, and for several years wrote a monthly column, "People-Centered Preaching," for Emphasis. He earned a Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Minnesota.

ISBN: 9780814622155, 2215

Details: 288 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 02/01/1997


When pastors finish this book I believe that they will be convinced that form in the preaching task is important and is in fact, Biblically-based. As a result of reading this book the parish pastor will not settle for more correct content but now there will be attempts to make the content of a sermon match the form. This will be evidenced by the preacher attempting to become people-centered, working to use the audience's self-interest in order to keep attention, making the homily an oral event, and using correct structures when preaching on hard topics. With these steps in place, what fine preachers will be heard throughout the land!
Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit

This well written, entertaining, thoughtful and very informative book explains why for several years now our candidates preparing for ordained diaconal ministry have found Al Rueter to be a gentle, inspired and challenging master teacher of the art of preaching and an enthusiastic proclaimer of God's Good News.
Peter A. D'Heilly, Ph.D.

Over 400 years ago Erasmus of Rotterdam asked why it's so difficult for preachers to learn how to preach. Modern parishioners are still asking this question! Fortunately, so is Alvin Reuter. A seasoned preacher and teacher of homiletics, Reuter has written—in the very style he urges proclaimers to use when speaking—an honest, effective, and theologically responsible handbook for those who are serious about learning how to preach well. Dr. Reuter has done his homework. He knows why congregations tune in, and when and why they don't. The chapter "Remembering your homily" is worth the price of the book.
Michael Sherer, Editor

This is the best book on preaching I have read. The author carefully lays out a process for thorough preparation, and then outlines what is involved in executing effectively in the pulpit. Making a persuasive case for 'preaching without notes,' he illustrates how this can be done with confidence. Rueter includes some worthwhile small-step exercises for improving various phases of the sermon. The appendices contain a rich ore of sermons illustrating the points he makes. This is a book for both searching and seasoned pastors.
L. David Brown, former ELCA Bishop in Iowa, Calvary Lutheran Church of Golden Valley, Minnesota

The great value of this book is its detailed descriptions and illustrations of basic principles of homiletics. . . . Another outstanding feature . . . is the way it grounds rhetorical as well as theological claims in a scriptural context.
James R. Motl, O.P., The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity

For some years I have been looking for a comprehensive and practical book to use with my students in homiletics. Alvin Rueter's book is the answer to my prayer. . . . I have not seen a better book on the subject.
Alfred McBride, O.Praem., Professor of Homiletics, Pope John XXIII Seminary, Weston, MA