Preaching Sermons that Connect: Effective Communication through Identification. By Craig A. Loscalzo. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.165 pages. Paper, $9.99.
Americans’ suspicion of authority does not seem to be decreasing. That being so, authoritarian preaching has only a limited future. It will take new approaches to get a hearing from unchurched people. To meet this need, Craig A. Loscalzo has written a fine book about preaching to hearers who are turned off by heavy-handed, authoritarian sermon style.
Loscalzo, associate professor of preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argues that establishing rapport between the preacher and the hearers is the best way to overcome hearer’s resistance. Hearers are best persuaded by preachers whom they perceive to be like them, to love them, and to respect them.
Loscalzo suggests practical strategies for building such rapport: analyzing trends in the community and in society; assessing one’s own integrity as it is expressed in honesty, reliability, loving relationships, and diligent ministry; and shaping sermons which by their attitude, content, and form resonate with hearers.
This book is a valuable help in the ongoing effort to speak persuasively to unchurched people. Preachers who follow Loscalzo’s guidance will find a new rapport with listeners—a rapport that should lead to increased effectiveness in preaching.