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In seminar with Prof Tom Long
9 April 2018

The well-known Prof Tom Long recently visited South Africa. His lecturing ‘tour’ started out in Stellenbosch and on to Bloemfontein. On 19 and 20 March the Department of Practical Theology together with Excelsus at the University of Pretoria offered the same seminar in Pretoria. Some 65 students and pastors attended the two-day seminar.  It was Tom Long at his very best. He has recently retired from fulltime teaching at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, GA. With his wife Kim (a retired Professor in Liturgy from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA) they live on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

Prof Long covered the following themes in this seminar:

  • Preaching in a Whirlwind I (two sessions)
  • Releasing the Power of Scripture in Preaching
  • What Listeners Need in Sermons (two sessions)
  • Creating Vital and Faithful Worship (two sessions)

It is rather impossible to capture in one paragraph what was covered in a content rich excellent communicative way. The feedback was and is very positive. Not alone did he motivate preachers and liturgists to think and rethink what they do when preaching and leading worship – he also gave well researched guidance on what we do, why we do and how we do. Of critical importance was the insights he shared on preaching to different constituencies within the same worship service. These constituencies are different in many ways. Preachers know these ‘groups’, representing different contexts and understandings. His insight is that, in a philosophical way, we deal with three kinds of ‘mentalities’ (my concept) represented in these constituencies:

  • The disenchanted  – the worshippers who have lost the sense of being in His presence;
  • The uninformed – as to the shape of Christian living and who needs guidance as to what this news may mean in real life;
  • The unsurprised – worshipper who are now longer astonished by ‘information’. People for whom we must help to discover that something has happened (in Christ) and ‘everything has changed!”

Tom Long is worth reading! Hearing is even more motivational!


- Author Prof Malan Nel
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Last edited by Judith FourieEdit