Getting to God

Preaching Good News in a Troubled World

Book - Paperback
Getting to God
Paperback ISBN: 9781791004668
$22.99 Show Buy
E-Book ISBN: 9781791004675
$22.99 Show Buy

Published October 2021

Preachers can proclaim God’s grace in a divisive culture.

God shows up, surprises us, and catches us off guard in offbeat settings and contexts. We name these saving encounters “gospel.” Naming God’s action in our world can be challenging for many today. Divisions in our culture make preaching feel perilous. Preachers turn to the biblical text and long to speak a powerful word of good news but many struggle with how to name God’s grace amidst complex contextual issues and relational dynamics. Seminary does little to equip pastors for this important aspect of ministry. This book demonstrates how preachers can proclaim God’s grace in our world today by building on the theological grammar and preaching method proposed by Paul Scott Wilson. This book operates on several levels, showing preachers how to contextualize a theologically rich approach to preaching, expanding the horizon of ministry for pastors who might not have experience in the contexts discussed in the book, and it equips pastors with the vital practice of learning to look for and name God’s active presence in our world.

About the Authors

John Rottman

John Rottman is the Associate Professor of Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. John spent five years working in a psychiatric hospital and it was during that time that he felt a call to the pastorate, but he wasn’t so sure about preaching. This changed during his time in seminary. While writing his first sermon at Calvin Theological Seminary, he felt strongly that this was another piece of his calling. It is with a strong theological training, and understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching, that John now equips students to bring proclaim the gospel through the medium of preaching.

Luke A. Powery

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is the dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching, Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats.

His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He has written three books: Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in PreachingDem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope; and his latest book Rise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals. He has also co-authored an introductory textbook on preaching, Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place, and is currently working on the second in the series of meditations on the Spirituals, this time for the season of Lent. He is also a general editor of a forthcoming nine volume lectionary commentary series for preaching and worship titled, Connections.

Powery was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S. He is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, for which he has served as secretary; the American Academy of Religion; and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Powery served as a member of the executive lectionary team for The African-American Lectionary and is the recipient of numerous scholastic fellowships and awards. In 2008, the African-American Pulpit named him one of 20 outstanding black ministers under the age of 40 who are helping shape the future direction of the church. More recently, in 2014, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College for his ethical and spiritual leadership in the academy, church, and broader society.

Prior to his appointment at Duke, he served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his B.A. in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Stanford University, his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.

He is married to Gail Powery, and the couple has two children.

Joni Sancken

Joni Sancken is Associate Professor of Homiletics at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. She is interested in theological and contextual issues in preaching. She is the Author of Stumbling Over the Cross: Preaching the Cross and Resurrection Today (Cascade, 2016). Joni is an ordained pastor in Mennonite Church USA and served congregations in Indiana and Pennsylvania and completed level one STAR training (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) through the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in 2017. She lives in Oakwood, OH with her pastor husband Steve Schumm and children Maggie and Theodore.