Alternatives to Monologue Preaching

Early Anabaptist congregations were distinguished from their Catholic or Reformed contemporaries by the much greater freedom their members had to participate actively in a learning community. There were monologue sermons, but often a number of people made contributions. Questions were invited and discussion took place. Gradually, as the tradition developed, a reversion to the dominance of monologue preaching can be observed, but echoes of a more communal approach remain, together with a conviction that God speaks through many people, sharing their gifts and perspectives in a multi-voiced community.

In this section we offer resources for reflection on alternatives to the monologue sermon.

Interactive and Collaborative Preaching

As an Anabaptist for many years I practiced dialogical forms of preaching, beginning in a Baptist congregation where I was pastor and baptist theologian James Wm. McClendon, Jr. was a member in the early 80's. Much later I wanted to reflect on the theory behind interactive and collaborative preaching, so my doctoral project was "An (Ana)baptist Homiletic of Community" (2002). It was finally published as "Preaching and Interpretation as Communal and Dialogical Practices: an Anabaptist Perspective" by Edwin Mellen Press (2006). I thought I would make my work known to those interested in this subject.---Rev. Dr. Leo Hartshorn, Portland, Oregon, USA