Unpacking the Complexities of the Homiletic Encounter

“How’s the preaching?”

This question is on the lips of faithful parishioners, parish-shoppers, those who tiptoe in and out of liturgy, and those who walk away. Preaching is a key element in the decision for and against attendance at church. Many base their opinions of the parish and the institutional Church on the quality of the homily. How can we do better?

A complex subject, yes, but an insurmountable one, no.

Some consider the improvement of preaching to be insurmountable, complex, and unmanageable, almost hopeless. At a regional gathering of a national organization, people laughed when I told them that my goal in life was to improve preaching in the Catholic church. One man chuckled, “If we eliminated the homily, we would stop losing people.”

I don’t believe that. I am a person who asks questions. From surveying young people, absorbing market research on how to get messages across effectively and creating large-scale institutional change, I have hope. There are many factors involved, but it is not hopeless. In November of 2012, I compiled a summary as well as some strategic ideas, and presented it to the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics (CATH). It is a big project, but if it matters to us, we can accomplish it. Here is that summary:

Bellinger – Overview of Strategic Planning for Preaching Improvement

If you read all the way through the ten pages and find that you would like to converse with me about it, if you are a strategist who can envision this overall picture or if you have hope that we can make this happen, please drop me a line (see contact us.) Thanks!