Preaching is a way of life that can be beautiful and good; however, it can also be anxious, self-focused, and destructive. Preachers and teachers of preaching need a holistic view of preaching that not only paints the way to good preaching, but also to good living. They need a comprehensive practical theology of preaching that combines the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ with the ‘how’ and 'whom’ of preaching.
Practicing the Preaching Life unites Christian practices, contextual virtues, and the best of homiletical pedagogy to pave the way to a beautiful preaching life. Preaching is best learned as a formative Christian practice embedded within a web of other Christian practices that form a way of life from which great sermons emerge. Therefore, preaching requires not only a way of speaking well, but also a way of living well. This embedded nature of preaching requires the enrollment of Christian practices in the formation of the preacher and the pursuit of contextual virtues for preaching that avoid cultural relativism on the one hand and cultural imperialism on the other. These requirements lead to a new vision for the preaching classroom, the rhythms of the preaching life, and the definition of what it means to be a good preacher.
David B. Ward is Associate Professor, Homiletics & Practical Theology at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN. He holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in Christian Ministries from Indiana Wesleyan University, an MDiv from Asbury Seminary, and a PhD in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. Ward is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church who has been a part-time pastor, full-time pastor, itinerant preacher, preaching professor, and academic dean. His preaching and teaching are rich with content, alive with humor, and deeply practical. He enjoys every season life brings with his wife Holly, and his three children Ella, Zoe, and Dawson.