Effective Preaching in the 21st Century

On April 4, 2018, Americans commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. His leadership and speeches during the Civil Rights Movement changed the social landscape of America. Dr. King’s legacy as a “drum major of justice” often overshadows his preaching ministry. However, Dr. King was a prolific preacher. Preaching Magazine posthumously honored him as one of “The Ten Greatest Preachers of the Twentieth Century.” So what can the contemporary preacher learn from Dr. King’s preaching? In this paper, I will identify the elements in Dr. King’s sermons that made him an effective preacher. For example, Dr. King’s sermons were biblical, cultural, practical, and theological. The paper will conclude with suggestions of how modern preachers can integrate the identified elements into their sermons to be effective preachers in the 21st Century.

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