Contextual Ministry I:  Homiletics and Liturgics  (TH560A)
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Winter Term
Class Sessions:  Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 PM

Practicum Sessions:  Selected Wednesdays and one Monday (see below)


Prof. David Schnasa Jacobsen
Phone:  884-1970 ext. 3493 (office)
Office Hours: by appointment or when the door is open...


Learning Goals: 
The purpose of this course is to help students gain basic competence as worship leaders and preachers of the gospel in light of Lutheran traditions viewed ecumenically.  Competencies are:

1.  techniques like style, rate, pause, emphasis, and presence for leading public worship;
2.  multiple ways of interpreting pastoral contexts and situations;
3.  employing theological imagination for enriching the practice of preaching and liturgy;
4.  understanding the practice of preaching and worship as more than matters of personal

     taste, aesthetics, or historical precedent, but primarily as spoken and enacted Gospel.

To meet these learning goals, the instructor is more than happy to help students individually during office hours or by special appointment.


Required Texts:
 Keifert, Patrick R.
  Welcoming the Stranger: A Public Theology of Worship and Evangelism. 

         Minneapolis:  Fortress, 1992.
Taylor, Barbara Brown.  The Preaching Life.  Boston:  Cowley, 1994.

White, James.  History of Christian Worship.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1993.
Wilson, Paul Scott.  The Four Pages of the Sermon.  Nashville:  Abingdon, 1999.


Required Reading on Reserve:

González, Justo and Catherine.  Liberation Preaching.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1980. 


The percentage of the final grade of each assignment goes up as the term progresses.  One goal of this course is to set a trajectory for learning.  It values especially students' improvement over time.  Students need not fret that a difficult first paper or sermon exercise dooms them to homiletical purgatory or the liturgical penalty box.  In fact, as the semester progresses, the opportunities for growth and improvement only increase.  Nonetheless, since beginning pastors almost always have to produce weekly sermons and services regardless of circumstances, late papers will result in an automatic reduction of grade by one letter.  Your professor also reserves the right to sigh, grumble, and/or harrumph when late papers are submitted.  So there.


The schedule on the following page shows that the course's format varies:  lectures, workshops, discussions, etc.  Still, you can figure out what will happen by looking at the typeface.  The stuff I do is in regular type.  The stuff you do is in bold.

                                                                    Course Schedule

Session 1: January 9
First Hour:              Syllabus, Theology of Word & Sacrament:  Preaching & Worship as Gospel
Second Hour:          Lecture:  "Reading Scripture:  Voice, Presence, Phrasing, & Emphasis"

Third Hour:             Dry Run Practice Scripture Readings

For next session:  Read White’s Brief History of Christian Worship, pp. 9-74


Session 2: January 16
First Hour:   Discussion of White’s Brief History of Christian Worship
Second Hour:          Lecture:  “Liturgy and Structural Meaning”

Third Hour:             Practice Scripture Readings (Keffer Chapel)

For next session:  Read White’s Brief History of Christian Worship, pp. 75-180


PRACTICUM I:  Mon,. Jan. 21, 10-12, 12:30-2:30 PM “Liturgical Presidency and Using the New Hymnal” (Rev. Dr. Mark Harris)


Session 3: January 23
First Hour:              Discussion of White’s Brief History of Christian Worship
Second Hour:          Assignment 1, Practice Readings, with feedback and debriefing.

Third Hour:             Preaching Law and Gospel:  discussion of video of Barbara Brown Taylor
For next class: read chaps. 1-3, Wilson's Four Pages & chap. 4, GonzálezLiberation (rsrv.)


PRACTICUM II:  Wed., Jan. 30, 8:30-10:30 “Hymnody/Working w/ Musicians” (David Hall)


Session 4: January 30
First Hour:              Sacred Time:  Calendar and Liturgy
Second Hour:          "Choosing a Preaching Text in light of the Calendar and other Contexts"

Third Hour:             "First Impressions about Texts and How they Help You Preach"
For next class: read chaps. 4-7, Wilson--choose sermon date & text with field supervisor.


PRACTICUM III:  Wed.,  Feb. 6, 8:30-10:30 “Chanting Psalms and Liturgy” (D. L. Ludolph)


Session 5: February 6
First Hour:              "Concerns of Text & Sermon:  Test Cases for Preaching Law and Gospel" 
Second Hour:          "Resources for Homiletical Exegesis"

Third Hour:             Sacred Space for Worship
For next class: read chaps. 8-11, Wilson’s The Four Pages of the Sermon.


Session 6: February 13
First Hour:              Assignment #2 due, Debrief & Resource
Second Hour:          "Law & Gospel, aka Trouble & Grace:  Concerns Taking Shape"

Third Hour:             History and Theology of Baptism
For next class: read chap. 12, Wilson’s The Four Pages of the Sermon.


February 18-22 Reading Week.  No class!


PRACTICUM IV:  Wed., Feb. 27, 8:30-10:30 “Visuals, Space, & Architecture” (Revs. Lavergne/Bosch)


Session 7: February 27
First Hour:              Assignment #3 due, Debrief & Resource
Second Hour:          "The Fine Art of Filming:  Analogies, Examples, Illustrations"

Third Hour:             History and Theology of Eucharist

For next class: read Taylor’s The Preaching Life


PRACTICUM V:  Wed., Mar. 5, 8:30-10:30 “Presiding at Sacraments” (Rev. Dr. Mark Harris)


Session 8: March 5
First Hour:              Discussion of Taylor's Book, cultivating your imagination as a preacher, Second Hour:        Gardner Taylor video

Third Hour:             Liturgical Action:  Symbol, Ritual, and Ordo


Session 9: March 12
First Hour:              Assignment #4 due, Debrief & Resource
Second Hour:          "Introductions and Conclusions"

Third Hour:             Order of Service I:  Entrance


Session 10: March 19
Assignment #5, Practice Sermon _______  ________  ________  ________


Session 11: March 26
Assignment #5, Practice Sermon _______  ________  ________  ________

For next class sessions: Begin reading Kiefert’s Welcoming the Stranger


PRACTICUM VI:  Wed., April 2, 8:30-10:30 “Funerals, Weddings, Healing:  Theology, Practice and Pastoral Care” (Rev. John Fogleman)


Session 12: April 2

First Hour:              Order of Service II:  Word

Second Hour:          Order of Service III:  Table

Third Hour:             Order of Service IV:  Sending


Session 13: April 9
Assignment #6 due, discussion of Keifert’s book

Chrysostom, Evaluations, Fudge Pie


Note:  Non-Lutheran WLS degree/diploma students can opt out of Practicum Session V provided they contract with their field placement supervisors to cover those 2 hours at their field placement site.  LOP Students are welcome to take the practicum, but are not required to do so.  Practicum sessions are required for all Lutheran students, but will have no graded assignments.  The only mark for the practicum will be for attendance taken at the beginning of each session.



1.   Reading Scripture Aloud
Choose a scripture reading that you might plausibly read in your Contextual Ministry field placement.  Liturgical types, for example, may wish to select an upcoming lectionary text.  Free church types, well, can choose freely!  Members of the class will respond gently to your reading as a way of helping all of us to think about our ministry of reading scripture aloud.  Since even the most experienced preacher can expect that it won't go perfectly, go ahead.  Sin boldly.
Due Date: Session 3 (1/23)--Percentage of Grade:  5%


2.   Concerns of Text and Sermon for Your Pericope
Keeping in mind Wilson's concern for sound exegesis and the imaginative spark between Biblical text and contemporary situation, develop a one or two page list of concerns of the text and concerns of the sermon.  The first should list concerns of the text arrived at through your own interpretive work supplemented by the help of others (e.g., commentaries, etc.).  Use the class handout as an example.  The second should list some of those same text concerns (marked with a T:) next to their corresponding concerns of the sermon (marked with a S:).  After the list, please cite any commentaries or other works you consulted in a brief bibliography. 
Due Date: Session 6 (2/13)--Percentage of Grade:  5%


3.   Law/Gospel (aka, Trouble/Grace) Concerns of Texts with Transpositions
Using the list of paired concerns from the previous assignment, identify each concern as “law” or “gospel.”  After you’ve identified each concern, choose one “law” pair and one “gospel” pair—the two should be related “antiphonally,” as we discussed in class.  These two circled pairs will be the concerns that govern the law pages (pages 1-2) and the gospel pages (pages 3-4) of the sermon you will be developing for class.
Due Date: Session 7 (2/27)--Percentage of Grade:  10%


4. Sermon Structure with TTDNIM and Stories.
Submit a one or two page sketch of your sermon that shows its four-page structure (including TTDNIM), filming strategies (analogies, examples, illustrations, images, metaphors, etc.) for each, and a clear statement of the major concern (remember, your major concern is always a “Gospel” or “Grace”concern).  Try not to number them like points.  Allow the Law/Gospel or Trouble/Grace logic of your sermon to come through on the page.
Due Date: Session 9 (3/12)--Percentage of Grade:  15%


5. Sermon Manuscript
Students will write out a brief sermon (approximately 10-15 minutes in length) to preach before the class based on the exegesis of the Biblical text chosen.  Whether you use one or not in the pulpit, your professor expects a full manuscript to be handed in to the seminary office and placed in my box by the close of the business day (4 PM) one day in advance of practice preaching sessions.   Please remember:  late manuscripts will receive a deduction of one full grade.  If at all possible, students should be scheduled to preach their sermon in class before they preach it in their field placement.  This way, students can use the comments of their peers and instructor to improve the sermon for Sunday. 

         Any revisions to a sermon after preaching it in class or in the field placement setting will be cheerfully accepted in addition to the practice sermon manuscript.  Students who wish to improve their grade this way may do so as long as they submit their revised sermon by the last day of class.  Grace happens.
Due Date: The Day before Sessions 10 or 11 (that means either 3/18 or 3/25) by 4 PM in my box at the Seminary Office--Percentage of Grade:  30%


6.  Analysis Paper:  Eucharistic Service (approx. 8 pp., double-spaced)
Using Keifert’s Welcoming the Stranger as a guide, analyze a Eucharistic service at your placement.  How accessible is the service to the outsider?  Begin with a description of what it’s like to enter the building, get accustomed to the space, etc., but focus primarily on the liturgical actions and words used in that assembly.  What is the explicit and implicit theology of worship there and how “welcoming” is it to the stranger?  Please attach a copy of that service’s worship bulletin to hand in together with your paper.
Due Date: Session 13 (4/10)--Percentage of Grade: 30%


X.   Lecture Attendance and Group Participation
In order to learn preaching and worship together regular attendance is expected at both the Wednesday class sessions and the practicum sessions.  We will attempt to learn how to lead worship and preach in community.  By struggling together with our papers and sermons we will also grow together in ways that we can hardly imagine.  This aspect of our time together will necessarily require the voicing of perspectives that many of us often ignore.  Yet this is the greatest blessing presiders and preachers can receive.  After all, the gospel may not come to us, unless it comes first through the voice of Another.  Paul put it well:  faith comes by hearing.
Due Date:  Every Session--Percentage of Grade:  5%




Students with disabilities or special needs are advised to contact Laurier's Special Needs Office for information regarding its services and resources. Students are encouraged to review the Calendar for information regarding all services available on campus.


Wilfrid Laurier University uses software that can check for plagiarism. Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form and have it checked for plagiarism.


Although, sermons are oral events and rarely footnotedpreachers do need to identify in their sermons when they have borrowed from elsewhere.  “There’s a story about....” or “Paul Tillich notes,yada yada yada” is usually sufficient to identify that the preacher has borrowed material.  In those (hopefully) rare moments when a student uses first-person illustrations, the assumption of course is that the material is indeed from oneself and never borrowed.  Please see your instructor if you need further guidance on these or other matters of preaching ethics.


Since Waterloo Lutheran Seminary is a gospel-centred community, faculty expects that students will not use language which might cause some to feel excluded from the gospel promise.  This is both an important ethical issue and an issue of gospel communication.  Guidelines for language use prepared by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and by Wilfrid Laurier University ( will help the student to avoid inadvertently placing barriers between people and the gospel.  Students should make use of these guidelines.

Summary of Practicum Topics, Leaders, and Sessions


Liturgics Practicum

Winter Term

Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

Keffer Chapel



Practicum Topics:                                                                     Schedule


Liturgical Presidency                             Mark Harris                 Mon., Jan. 21, 10-12

Writing Prayers and Missals,                 Mark Harris                 Mon., Jan. 21, 12:30-2:30

Using the New Hymnal, and

Lent/Holy Week/Triduum                                                        


Hymnody/Working with Musicians        David Hall                    Wed., Jan. 30, 8:30-10:30


Chanting Psalms/Liturgy                        Debbie Lou Ludolph     Wed., Feb. 6, 8:30-10:30


Visuals, Space, and Architecture           P. Bosch, A. Lavergne Wed., Feb. 27, 8:30-10:30


Sacrament of Baptism                           Mark Harris                 Wed., March 5, 8:30-10:30

and Presiding at the Table


Funerals, Weddings, Healing:                Jon Fogleman               Wed. April 2, 8:30-10:30

Theology, Practice, and Pastoral Care