Continued Growth in Preaching: A Peer Sermon Review Tool for Pastors of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
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In an effort to aid the pastors of our Wisconsin Synod in their continued growth in preaching, I have sought to create an online peer sermon review tool that WELS pastors can use to sharpen both their sermon content and delivery. The following paper assesses the feasibility and usefulness of such a tool for the busy parish pastor. The paper will focus on growth in preaching facilitated and driven by peers in the ministry through sermon evaluation. It will examine biblical support and contemporary encouragement for continuing education, growth in preaching for pastors, as well as the concept of peer review. Previous work done in the WELS in the area of peer sermon review and new quantitative research from WELS parish pastors will also be examined in this paper. A tool meant to promote positive peer preaching critiques will need to be practical, useable, and accessible in order for it be of benefit to WELS pastors. To this end the research I conducted sought the input of WELS pastors with a wide range of experience who shared their views on how feasible and useful this type of growth-in-preaching tool might be. Included in this paper is a proposal for using an online sermon review tool which has been put online for testing and refining purposes on Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s Seminary Online continuing education website.