With the acceleration of technological change, new and distinct generations are created faster than before. Generational boundaries become more fluid. Multiple age groups have different generational mindsets, distinct worldviews, and varied spiritual needs. How, then, do preachers speak to congregations that comprise four to five separate generations? Preaching to a Multi-generational Assembly addresses how to effectively and credibly preach to all generations at the same time.
In Preaching to a Multi-generational Assembly Andrew Carl Wisdom offers a credible, new homiletic model to make Catholic preaching more exciting, accessible, and effective for both the assembly and preacher by making it more generationally relevant. He reflects upon the current state of preaching through Catholic and Protestant voices. He argues from communication theory that generation is a subculture like ethnicity and race and should be seriously considered in homiletic preparation. He applies contemporary marketing segmentation theory to preaching in proposing a qualified "generational segmentation" of the Sunday assembly. Finally, he combines both theories to demonstrate both the opportunity and viability of intergenerational preaching in a Catholic context.
Chapters are “Why Effective Preaching Is a Priority: The Problem,” “The Genesis of the Catholic Homily,” “Intergenerational Preaching as a Sacred Dance Between Culture, Language, and Meaning,” “What the Preacher Can Learn from the Marketer,” “The Catholic Sacramental Imagination: A Generational Bridge,” “Does It Work? The Mechanics of Intergenerational Preaching,” and “So What.” Includes tables, graphs, and a conclusion with practical suggestions on how to become an effective and credible intergenerational preacher.
Andrew Carl Wisdom, OP, DMin, is a preacher and promoter of vocations for the Dominicans, Province of St. Albert the Great. Besides extensive campus ministry involvement, Fr. Wisdom has given retreats to parishes, diocesan clergy, and religious novices. The sixth eldest in a family of thirteen, Father Wisdom has first hand experience of intergenerational dynamics, crediting his passion for preaching to his upbringing.
Wisdom makes a fine contribution to a crucial aspect of preaching: exegeting the assembly. Veteran preachers and teachers of homiletics will use his work to great advantage. . . . Intergenerational preaching occurs in more places than the pulpit alone.
This book is necessary reading for all those who seek to effectively and responsibly preach the word of God in today's world.
Ministry & Liturgy
Here sound empirical research is skillfully applied to one of the most troubling and difficult issues faced by today's Church: that of preaching so as to be heard by people of very different generations. Andrew Wisdom's book provides the very best solution to this problem that I have read, one that is both innovative and highly workable. Every person who stands in the pulpit should read and learn from this study.
Joseph M. Webb, Dean, School of Communication and Media, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida
The time and effort it takes to read and digest his information and insights are well worthwhile.
Every preacher has faced the dilemma of a diverse congregation: preach to no one, or preach to the lowest common denominator. Using modern marketing and communication theory, Fr. Wisdom has suggested there is a third way. He shows how preachers can use a variety of images and code words' to craft homilies with one message that is specifically targeted to specific age groups.
Charles E. Bouchard, OP, President, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri
While writing particularly for Roman Catholics, Andrew Carl Wisdom offers both challenge and good news for all preachers. The challenge is that we no longer ignore the diverse generational cohorts in our congregations, but that we intentionally incorporate within our sermons metaphors, images, symbols and linguistic references that address them. The good news (as is evidenced by Wisdom's research) is that with a bit of discipline, imagination and intentionality, our sermons can become far more relevant and meaningful for the diverse cohorts that populate our worship services. Indeed, one sermon can speak with many voices.
Rev. Dr. Nora Tubbs Tisdale, Consulting Theologian, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, NY
Wisdom's book reminds us that good preaching is never a random act.
I would encourage preachers to read the book. I'm sure it is important to take seriously the diversity reflected in a congregation. Preachers do need to take seriously the challenge of communication in was that will speak to and have echoes for people of a range of ages and backgrounds.
The College of Preachers Journal
. . .treats the need for intergenerational preaching; the genesis of the Catholic homily; the intergenerational homily as a sacred dance between culture, language, and meaning; ways marketers can help; the importance of the Catholic sacramental imagination; and the mechanics of intergenerational preaching.
Andrew Carl Wisdom, OP, methodically analyzes the situation to which his title refers, bringing many helpful observations into focus.
Review for Religious
This book is very helpful for both beginning and experienced preachers, with its emphasis that the preacher's task when preparing to preach is not only to exegete biblical texts but also the worshipping community.
James A. Wallace, CSsR, Washington Theological Union, Homiletix
On the first Pentecost, Peter stood up to preach to a gathering of great diversity. The challenge of preaching the one gospel to many ears has not lessened. The response of that first community of listeners was, 'How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?' (Acts 2:5). This succinct work can help motivate us to achieve the same end among today's challengingly diverse assemblies and provoke some valuable discussion as to how we can more effectively meet this goal.