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**Chapter 4 The Application of Engineering Design Methodology to Homiletics**

**Introduction**

The expository sermon construction belongs to a class of the design discipline. This result was shown in Chapter 3, in which four areas of the design discipline were chosen, discussed from the perspective of their respective characteristics, and compared with the expository sermon construction. We found that expository sermon construction shares similar characteristics to the design discipline, as both have a three-stage design process (i.e., ABA’).

Our problem at hand, therefore, can be addressed properly from now on as a *design* problem. This would enable us to take a bold approach to treat design of expository preaching systematically and scientifically, rather than just as an art. This would involve the utilization of modern methods and principles in the design discipline, specifically, the field of engineering design, which have experienced tremendous advances since the end of World War II.

Many concepts and representations from engineering design will be employed. The four methods that will be most useful for the expository sermon design problem are discussed below. The development of the first three methods will be briefly reviewed in this chapter, while the heuristic method will be discussed in conjunction with the optimization methods as well as an investigation on the nature and characteristics of the expository sermon design problem; this will be reviewed in Chapter 5. None of the aforementioned methods have even been implemented in the field of homiletics. It is believed that this application is novel and original.

**The flow chart method:**an easy and logical representation of a design or an operational**The modeling technique:**a generalized, hypothetical description, using mathematical means of realistic structure for simulation purpose, often based on an analogy used in analyzing or explaining something, defined by Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, second edition.**Theory of optimization:**methods for finding the optimum in an iterative manner.**The heuristic method of S. Lin:**an efficient technique utilizing heuristics developed by Shen Lin (1965, pp2245-69) and Lin and Kernighan (1973, pp498-516) in the communications field [e.g., optimum wiring of printed-circuit boards by Kernighan and Lin (1970, pp291-307; 1973, pp1145-59)] for finding a substantial number of optimum or near-optimum solution within a reasonable time.

**The Expository Sermon Design Problem**

The expository sermon design problem will be briefly discussed from the viewpoint of its characteristics. There are two types of characteristics: the special and the general type. The special characteristics are those features that make the design problem difficult to handle. Consequently, the purpose of this research is to apply the engineering design methodology to circumvent these difficulties yielding efficient and optimum solutions. In this section, the special characteristics will be explored first, followed by a discussion of the corresponding methods of approach. A discussion of the general characteristics will be reviewed later in Sec. 5.1.

**Special Characteristics of the Problem**

The design for expository sermons has three distinctive characteristics in which engineering design methods may be applied. These characteristics include having many inter-related design variables, having design variables with restrictive constraints, and having a structure that is difficult to visualize. These three characteristics are reviewed on a point-by-point basis below:

*Having many inter-related design variable*

The problem of expository sermon design is complicated for many reasons. First, it includes a large number of eight design variables (Table 2.4.1). These variables are interrelated, involving different respective design constraints. For example, a well-prepared sermon designed for a particular congregation may need to be readjusted when delivered to a different congregation when a different context may be involved. Even the slightest variation in any variables may effect the development of the content. If the variation is not appropriate, certain constraints could be violated. For example, if an illustration is not relevant or apparent to the audience, additional time may be needed for further explanation; this may result in having to compensate somewhere along the sermon design, perhaps by shortening the main body (i.e., the divisions and the discussion) of the sermon.

*Having design variables with restrictive constraints*

The expository sermon has restrictive interrelated constraints. In the sermon design problem, constraints imposed on the problem and design variables are mostly represented in quantitative terms, rather than in qualitative values. A discussion is given for the following two kinds of constraints:

(1) The Overall Constraints

An example of an overall constraint is *time*. Generally, a sermon must finish within a certain time limit (i.e., 35 minutes). In addition, a host of other factors should also be considered as constraints. For example, a sermon should include the following: a title, a text, and a theme (with the related explanation as well as application). The speaker may be constrained by a certain theme requirement. In addition, the sermon must present the truth clearly; be delivered with passion; bear a message that is Christ-centered; and be systematic, purpose-driven, creative, and logical in presentation.

(2) The Individual Constraints

Each of the eight design variables has individual constraints. These are listed below:

- The Proposition: this must be a universal truth with application.
- The Divisions: this must be derived from the proposition, with all the main points balanced.
- The Illustrations: these should be relevant, but should not be verbose, lengthy, or too numerous.
- The Application: this should be specific, definite and brief.
- The Introduction: this should be direct, interesting and brief (i.e., limited to less than 5 minutes).
- The Conclusion: this should be brief; should aim to elicit response and action; and should recapitulate the leading thought(s) and restate the emphasis.
- The Title: this should be the summary of the proposition while being essential, sensible and attractive.
*Having a structure that is difficult to visualize*

It is extremely difficult to put a sermon structure into some kind of measuring pattern or a visualized model for performance evaluation. Models, therefore, need to be constructed or identified in order to simulate the sermon structure. After this has been done, analytical and foundational work of the sermon can then be performed. This problem may need to be addressed later from the perspective of computer-aided sermon design.

**Methods of Approach**

The special characteristics of expository sermon design problems represent many challenges to sermon designers, particularly in regards to the development of a systematic design procedure. The aforementioned special characteristics are lumped into two groups with their corresponding methods of approach outlined below. The approaches presented here are believed to be original to this author.

*The expository sermon design belongs to a class of large-scale design problems.*

Combining the first two special characteristics mentioned above, we have a large-scale design problem. The term “large-scale” means that the problem involves a large number of design variables and that the interactions between variables are complicated (e.g., having non-linear relationships); this contributes to the degree of difficulty for performance evaluation of the design.

The method of approach is to apply the optimization method that is the most effective technique of engineering design methodology in solving large-scale problems. Most real life problems are indeed large-scale design problems; an example is the traveling salesman problem described in Appendix This problem is often encountered in life and has many applications to industry. It had been a well-known, difficult problem to deal with until the mid-1970s and had attracted many investigators.

*The sermon structure is difficult to visualize.*

The fact that there have been different forms available for sermon evaluations, for instance, by Robinson (1980, pp217-20) and Chapell (1994, p359), tells us that there has not been any standard sermon structure or model available. Without a standard pattern for comparison, we face a similar problem, like the aforementioned one, as the design would be hard to evaluate either quantitatively or qualitatively in order to seek improvement.

The method of approach is to bypass this difficulty by constructing either a mathematical or physical model to simulate the subject system. This is a powerful modeling technique of engineering design that is often employed in engineering science.

Chapter 1 The State of the Art of the Design for Preaching

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Identification of the Problem

1.2 Basic Approach

Chapter 2 The Fundamental Concept of the Expository Sermon Construction

2.0 Introduction

2.1 Major Types of Biblical Sermons

2.2 The Advantages of Expository Preaching

2.3 The Evidences of Expository Preaching

2.4 The Construction of Expository Sermon

Chapter 3 The Connection Between Expository Sermon Construction and Design Discipline

3.0 Introduction

3.1 Theory of Optimization

3.2 Designs for Classical Music Compositions

3.3 Designs for Court Litigation

3.4 Engineering Design

3.5 Comparison of Expository Sermon Construction with Aforementioned Areas of Design Discipline

3.6 Summary

Chapter 4 The Application of Engineering Design Methodology to Homiletics

4.0 Introduction

4.1 The Expository Sermon Design Problem

4.2 The Flow Chart Method

4.3 The Modeling Technique

4.4 Theory of Optimization

Chapter 5 The Application of Heuristics to Expository Sermon Design Problem

5.0 Introduction

5.1 General Characteristics of the Expository Sermon Design Problem

5.2 Principles of the Heuristic Combinatorial Optimization Problem

Chapter 6 Development of Combinatorial Heuristics for Expository Sermon Design Optimization

6.0 The Combinatorial Heuristics Applicable to the Expository Sermon Design

6.1 The Hermeneutical Heuristics

6.2 The General Homiletical Heuristics

6.3 The Special Homiletical Heuristics of Gifted Preachers

Chapter 7 The Web-Chart Method for Expository Sermon Design Optimization

7.0 Introduction

7.1 The Web-Chart Method: Theory

7.2 The Web-Chart Method: Application

7.3 The Web-Chart Method: A Comparison and Advantages

Chapter 8 The Design for Expository Preaching in a Postmodern Context

8.0 Introduction

8.1 The Interpretation of Scripture in a Postmodern Era

8.2 The Contextualization of Preaching

8.3 Design for Expository Preaching in a Specific Context

Chapter 9 Summary: A Systematic Procedure for the Design of Expository Sermons

9.1 A Systematic Procedure for the Design of Expository Sermons

9.2 Summary

Appendixes

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT

HEURISTIC COMBINATORIAL OPTIMIZATION IN THE DESIGN FOR EXPOSITORY PREACHING