Preaching Luke-Acts | Preaching Apocalyptic Texts | Biblio-file | Syllabi | Liberating Word | Links | M.Th. in Homiletics
WLS Home Page | Faculty Page | Preaching Resources by DSJ | My CV

Gospel from the Ashes:
Missional Preaching & Praxis in the Disestablished Church (TH 668A)
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Winter Term
Class Sessions: Thursdays, 1:30 PM - 4:20 PM


Prof. David Schnasa Jacobsen
Phone: 519-884-1970, x3493
Office Hours: by appointment, or when the door is open...

Course Description and Learning Outcomes:
This course is about the ministry of the Word outside the church, focusing primarily on missional preaching practices like apologetics (explaining) and evangelism (proclaiming). It starts with claims about how and why such practices happen. First, it grounds missional preaching in a theology of Word and Sacrament. Missional preaching begins graciously in God's action, the missio dei that sends us forth from Word and Table. Second, it takes seriously past problems and deals squarely with the church not as a triumphant proselytiser, but as a disestablished body in contemporary secular life, that is, under the sign of the cross. Third, it links missional practices to the "sending" in the liturgy: apologetics and evangelism are dialogical practices that arise out of the context not of marketing, but Christian vocation and discipleship in the world.

Here the missional preaching task will be viewed as a theological one, i.e., as an opportunity for discerning and articulating the gospel anew in a given out-church moment. Thus students will be equipped to be "theologians of the Word" who can interpret such moments and aid others in speaking faith in discipleship. As a result, students can expect the following learning outcomes:

1. To be able to internalize, name and image how missional preaching is grounded in God's action, missio dei, in relation to a theology of Word and Sacrament;
2. To overlay that missional vision to the disestablished church's life under the cross.
3. To envision practices of how mission, preaching, and vocation can be integrated by exploring historical perspectives in the life of the church;
4. to understand, evaluate, and craft apologetic theologies adequate both to the tradition and to a specific audience by using communicative tools like rhetoric and metaphor theory;
5. and to construct a missional preaching project like a website/blog/you-tube-video, op-ed piece/letter to the editor/feature, community action, exhibit/performance/photo essay, or workshop using evangelistic models and/or media tools appropriate to the context.

As a result students should develop greater missional sensitivity, practical savvy and think-on-your-feet theological acumen while preparing for shared missional preaching in their contexts. To meet these learning goals, the instructor is more than happy to help students individually.

Required Texts:
Bliese, Richard and Craig Van Gelder, eds. The Evangelizing Church: A Lutheran Contribution. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005.
Honeycutt, Frank. Preaching to Skeptics and Seekers. Nashville: Abingdon, 2001.
(This item is available as an e-book only from for $8.40 US)

Optional Texts (please choose two of these four after consulting with your prof):
Baker, Mark D., ed. Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross: Contemporary Images of the Atonement. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006.
Kelsey, David. Imagining Redemption. Louisville: WJKP, 2005.
Long, Thomas. Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Saunders, Stanley and Charles Campbell. The Word on the Street: Performing the Scriptures in an Urban Context. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2006. [note: not available on reserve]

Course Format:
The schedule below shows that the course's format varies: lectures, in-class activities, 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.


Session 1 (January 7) Introductions and Review of Syllabus: Toward a Dialogical Word
Lecture: Missional Preaching and Word and Sacrament
Dialogical Activity: "I am a closet Christian"
For next session, read Bliese & Van Gelder

Session 2 (January 14) Discuss Bliese & Van Gelder: Missional Theology Concept Map
Lecture: Cross, Disestablishment, and Missional Preaching
Dialogical Activity: "Bishops Invite Everyone to Church"

Session 3 (January 21) Lecture: Mission, Vocation, and Discipleship in Early Christianity
D.A.: "Muslim Prayers & Renewal Near Ground Zero"
For next session, read Honeycutt

Session 4 (January 28) Discuss Honeycutt: Who is audience? How does he engage?
Lecture: Tools for the Task: Rhetoric, Metaphor and Symbol
Analysing Sermons: Using the Tools
For next session, read "Did Christianity Cause the Crash"

Session 5 (February 4) Discuss article
Lecture: History of Apologetics
Prepare Assignment: Present an Apologist

Session 6 (February 11) Student Presentations: Apologetical Theologians
For next session, read either Baker or Kelsey

Session 7 (February 25) Student-Led Discussions on Baker/Kelsey as Dialogue
Prepare Assignment: Write Apologetic Theology on Doctrine

Session 8 (March 4) Presentations: Apologetic Theology on Selected Doctrine

Session 9 (March 11) Lecture: Theology of Vocation and Discipleship
For next session, read either Saunders/Campbell or Long

Session 10 (March 18) Student Summaries and Dialogues
Lecture: Models of Evangelism and Media Studies
Prepare Final Assignment

Session 11 (March 25) Student Presentations of Final Assignment

Session 12 (April 1) Student Presentations of Final Assignment, cont.
Course Evaluation and Eschatological Fudge Pie

1. Present an Apologist
The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate an understanding of the work of an apologetic theologian (suggestions: Douglas John Hall [St. Jerome's]l, Nicholas Lash, C. S. Lewis, Stanley Hauerwas [Conrad Grebel], Alistair McGrath [Porter Library], William Placher [Conrad Grebel], or Paul Tillich) by conveying and responding to apologetic work in class to be agreed upon with your prof. The criteria for evaluating the work should include an analysis based on rhetorical, image/metaphorical and theological adequacy relative to its audience. Students will have about one half hour to present in class. Please summarise your presentation with a handout for your fellow students to keep.
Due Date: Session 6 (February 11) Assignment Weight: 20%

2. Write Apologetic Theology on Doctrine
In consultation with your prof, develop a brief one-page case study of a situation where you might be called upon to explain a doctrine of Christian faith. Write a five-page paper (12 pt. font, double-spaced, 1" margins) where you explain your view apologetically in a way that takes the tradition and the conversation partner(s) in your situation seriously. In the process, use your best skills as a theologian of the Word who can deploy rhetoric, metaphor, and symbol as a way of explaining your theological understanding. Again, please bring copies for the class to share.
Due Date: Session 6 (March 4) Assignment Weight: 30%

3. Final Assignment: Evangelism Project
Prepare a website/blog/you-tube-video, op-ed piece/letter to the editor/feature, community action, exhibit/performance/photo essay, or workshop as appropriate to the student's context by using evangelistic models and/or media tools that we discussed in class. Prepare with it a case study that helps us imagine the dialogical situation of discipleship in which it emerges. Students should also reflect on how laity might participate in such an activity as an expression of shared vocation.
You will have up to an hour of class time to demonstrate your presentation.
Due Date: Session 11 or 12 (March 25, April 1) Assignment Weight: 40%

4. Class Participation
This mark with consist of four elements of equal weight: quality of participation in the in-class activity (sessions 1-3), Honeycutt discussion (session 5), Baker/Kelsey dialogue and discussion (session 7), and Sanders/Campbell and Long summary and dialogue (session 10). Attendance issues may also affect this mark.
Due Date: Just About Every Session Assignment Weight: 10%


Fear not. Grading is designed to maximize possibilities for growth in learning. Since the percentage weight increases with each assignment there is margin for error. In good Lutheran fashion, you can feel free to "sin boldly." This way, students who demonstrate a clear improvement in their work by the end of the semester will still be eligible for a higher grade. The upshot is that students should always try their best. A bad grade early on is not a death sentence. Our seminary motto is "per fidem ambulamus." Why not walk by faith?

Final Notes:

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.

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.


Preaching Luke-Acts | Preaching Apocalyptic Texts | Biblio-file | Syllabi | Liberating Word | Links | M.Th. in Homiletics
WLS Home Page | Faculty Page | Preaching Resources by DSJ | My CV

Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in these pages, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and Wilfrid Laurier University do not and cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. Anyone using the information does so at his or her own risk and shall be deemed to indemnify Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and Wilfrid Laurier University from any and all injury or damage resulting from such use.

Created: 16 March, 2011
© copyright 1999-2011, David Schnasa Jacobsen and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary