Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Karin Treiber

Abstract

Evidence suggests that a disconnect is growing between the information provided in Christian sermons and the life challenges faced by those church attendees. To bridge that divide, the purpose of this study was to better understand the characteristics of a sermon that enhance learning for churchgoers in Christian churches. The guiding question focused on churchgoing adults' perception of the sermon. Additional sub questions explored the relationship of the principles of adult learning, communication theory, and ambient teaching with churchgoers' and preachers' experiences with sermons. A qualitative case study design included one-on-one interviews with 5 preachers, 5 focus groups with 9 churchgoing adults in each group, and observations of the physical characteristics of 5 worship centers. A constant comparative method was used to identify the key themes. The key themes that emerged were: (a) sermons should be applicable, challenging, and comprehendible and (b) the preacher must be perceived as authentic. The study contributes to positive social change by suggesting a model that preachers can use to improve the qualities and delivery of a sermon to affect listeners' lives in a positive way.