Religious Involvement in Hearing SermonsA Grounded Theory study in empirical theology and homiletics T.T.J. Pleizier


Hearing sermons is an important religious practice for Christians worldwide. In Protestant theology, a typical example of a theology of the Word, hearing sermons exceeds all other religious activities as a primary means of grace. Despite this centrality of religion in hearing sermons, empirical research on sermon reception has been conducted foremost from social, psychological, rhetorical and communicative perspectives.
This study brings into focus the religious qualities of the practice of listening. It provides answers to questions such as, how does preaching connect listeners to God, what is the function of faith in hearing sermons, and how do listeners become part of the community of faith?

Based upon qualitative interviews with listeners and following the analytic methods of Grounded Theory this study presents an empirical theological theory of religious involvement. It enriches the field of preaching with the concept of getting religiously involved and its various stages: opening up to listen, dwelling in the sermon and actualising faith.

Theo Pleizier (1975) is a minister in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands and serves the parish church of Langerak zh. He also works as a researcher practical theology at the Protestant theological University. This study is his PhD-thesis.