At first glance, preaching and advertising seem worlds apart from one another. One tries to proclaim love of God and neighbor; the other tries to sell you something that you may or may not need. Yet both must compete with other ways we receive and process information in an increasingly distracted world. While most of the time preaching simply tries to muddle through this situation, advertising knows that it must continually relearn how to reclaim its audience's attention–and keep it.
Believing that preaching can benefit from advertising’s laser focus on how to make its message stick, O. Wesley Allen, Jr. (a preaching professor) and Carrie La Ferle (a professor of advertising) have written this first-of-its-kind book on what preachers can learn from advertising.
Examples of these lessons include:
• Sharpening one’s analysis to understand the congregation better
• Encoding a message so that listeners can decode it for their individual lives
• Understanding how the form of the sermon leads to greater or lesser effectiveness
• Building the sermon around imagery and narrative.
"This book made so much sense to me. As we watch TV or listen to the radio, commercials inundate our reality. Some ads stick with us for the wrong reasons, and some stick with us through an emotional or theological connection that tugs at our hearts and minds. Trying to encapsulate the intentions and goals of a marketing campaign in a thirty-second ad is important. This is also true for preaching. As preachers strive to capture the attention of their listeners, the end goal is, admittedly, different than in advertising. Their audience wants more than information; they want to connect emotionally and to encounter in Christian preaching the presence of God and the grace of the gospel. This book will provide preachers with new perspectives with which to analyze and improve their sermons." – Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology