Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Jeff Johnsen


sermon application, applicational grid, listening theory, multigenerational, self-talk, application paradigm, preaching, expository preaching




God tasked pastors with the command to preach the Word to conform God's people to His image. In completing this task, pastors seek to apply God's Word to God's people. The unique context of each congregant’s life complicates this task. As a healthy, rural church in southern Michigan, Cambria Baptist Church maintains a multigenerational congregation. Because a broad age group attends the Sunday service, the pastors at Cambria cannot specifically apply the sermon to each situation. Therefore, the purpose of this DMIN action research project was to create and implement a paradigm by which congregants of each generation can effectively apply the sermon. The study combined the disciplines of homiletical grids and listening theory to create and implement the paradigm. The goal was that each congregant would arrive at specific applications from the message using the paradigm. The project’s thesis statement was that if the paradigm of personal application was taught and applied, then the congregants of each generation could effectively apply the sermon to their personal life. After four weeks of training in sermon application and using the paradigm, the twenty-six participants representing the multigenerational church used the paradigm in the worship service. The study used questionnaires, group discussions, and interviews to test the paradigm's effectiveness in leading to specific sermon applications across generations. The study resulted in a working paradigm that can be adapted to multiple situations to enhance specific sermon applications across all generations.

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