Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Rusty Small


Preaching, Communication, Millennials, Church, Qualitative Content Analysis


Christianity | Religion


The American church is facing a decline in attendance (Barna, 2014). This truth is especially prevalent in the millennial generation, the largest yet also the least religious American generation. Many of whom describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. The church has a unique opportunity through the weekly sermon that other organizations do not have. This opportunity provides the ability to verbally communicate in person with the entire organization at one time. The purpose of this qualitative content analysis study was to better understand how preachers who led the fastest growing churches in the Southern Baptist Convention used communication tactics previously identified as important in communicating and leading millennials in their sermons. These identified tactics were authenticity, positive reinforcement, and open dialogue. The study involved an extensive review of recent sermons that these pastors had preached in their churches. Following the content analysis of the sermons, conclusions were made based upon the rate of usage and similarities of the three pastors. Applications were then derived from this information on how other pastors can incorporate these communication methods in their preaching ministry, such as, but not limited to, the need for personal stories, creating a positive tone in the sermon, and asking rhetorical questions.

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