All over the world, millions of people attend services every week, and most of them will hear sermons. What happens between the sermon and the listener? Does the sermon become meaningful to listeners? The present study in the fields of practical theology, homiletics, and psychology of religion combines quantitative and qualitative methods to offer an empirically-based approach to the study of preaching. Highlighting the psychological factors influencing how a sermon is heard, this study draws theoretical insight from the works of D.W. Winnicott, A.-M. Rizzuto and D. Bonhoeffer in its examination of the relationship between the meaning of the sermon and the hearer's God image, personality, and affective state.
Hanneke Schaap-Jonker, PhD, is a psychologist and a theologian.