This structure utilizes an epic plot form as the progression of experiences in the sermon. The first experience of the epic form is immediate engagement in a conflict leading to a climax that is temporarily left unresolved. The second experience of the epic form involves an abrupt shift to reflection in a broader context (e.g., the history that lies behind the conflict) that serves to intensify the importance of the outcome for the hearers. Often this experience is a movement backward in time from the opening conflict to the history leading up to that conflict. In this second experience, the sermon should offer information that brings the significance of the opening scene into view for the hearers. The hearers reflect on the broader context and realize what is at stake in this struggle. Also, this revelation of a larger framework can offer the hearers a glimpse of the how the conflict will ultimately be resolved. It can provide a different way of looking at things that changes how they hear the opening scene and how the story will unfold. The final experience in the epic form involves a return to the conflict in order to move from climax to resolution. The sermon, therefore, ends with the hearers experiencing satisfaction as a significant matter is resolved in the sermon.
© 2011 David Schmitt. All rights reserved.