Preaching – Shaping the Word


This interactive course equips students–through lectures, discussion, and workshops–to prepare and present engaging sermons.


This course focuses on various aspects of sermon construction, including how to choose texts and topics, how to draw meaning(s) from the text, and how to illustrate your content, as well as practical advice on honing communication skills and understanding your audience.

The Preaching short course complements the Presbytery requirement for Lay Preachers to preach six sermons and receive feedback. In addition to any training days on Worship & Preaching that Lay Preachers may attend, this course focuses specifically on the craft of writing meaningful and engaging sermons.

Core Questions

Purpose: What are we ultimately trying to achieve through the sermon?

Preparation: How is meaning extracted (responsibly) from the biblical text?

Content: What’s the big idea?

Shape: Does the sermon’s shape affect its meaning? Why does it matter?

Presentation: How can I avoid common preaching blunders?

Lecturer: Paul Jones

Paul lectures in Old Testament and Preaching as well as overseeing Trinity’s Short Course program. Through his teaching and writing, he aims to make the insights of biblical scholarship accessible to the whole church—including kids, pastors, and learners of every age and life-stage. Both of his books (on the spirituality of the prophets and Job) reflect this.

Assessment (Lay Preacher Only)

If you’re a person taking this unit as part of the academic requirements for the Lay Preachers’ Certificate, you will need to complete the set reading for each class (about 100 pages in total). The assessment for this subject is a 1500 word book review or essay. The Lay Preacher candidate may review 100 pages from a set text, or write an essay on one of three set topics. For further information, please contact the course lecturer.