“The Five Aims of Preaching” from Adam Hamilton

Whenever I come across new vocabulary for understanding preaching, I’ll continue to share. In Leading Beyond the Walls: Developing Congregations with a Heart for the Unchurched(Abingdon Press, 2002), Adam Hamilton names Five Aims of Preaching:

  1. Evangelism (designed for the unchurched/nominal Christians, “fishing expeditions,” includes an invitation)
  2. Discipleship (majority of sermons are in this category)
  3. Equipping and Sending (“inspiring parishioners to do something about their faith” p. 86)
  4. Pastoral Care (“offering real hope and real help to those who are broken” p. 88)
  5. Institutional Development (ensure the health and vitality of the church; i.e. purpose of the church, needs of the church, vision, preparing people for future challenges, and stewardship; preached sparingly p. 89)

He aims to “accomplish most of these goals in each sermon series” he preaches (p. 79), though some series are more heavily weighted towards a particular area.

My thoughts. I rather like his five aims–I think it pretty much encompasses much of what I hope to hear from the pulpit in Catholic settings. His emphasis on discipleship preaching (rather than dedicating the Sunday morning worship service (Mass in my context!), to evangelistic preaching for “seekers”) fits with the USCCB’s vision as articulated in Fulfilled in Your Hearing and Preaching the Mystery of Faith.


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