Improving Preaching by Listening to Listeners

Sunday Service Preaching in the Malagasy Lutheran Church

by Hans Austnaberg (Author)
©2012 Monographs XII, 238 Pages
Series: Bible and Theology in Africa, Volume 15


Improving Preaching by Listening to Listeners: Sunday Service Preaching in the Malagasy Lutheran Church explores the reaction of the congregation to Sunday preaching. Preaching has been a significant activity since the founding of the Lutheran Church in Madagascar in 1867. However, hardly any research has been carried out to explore this interesting field, particularly from the listeners’ perspective. This book is an attempt to remedy this situation.
With the aid of methodology from rhetorical studies, adapted into homiletics, this book investigates: How do the character of the preacher, the content of the sermon, and its emotional appeal impact the listeners in such a way that preaching becomes significant in their lives? Listeners consider the preacher himself important, both his spiritual and everyday life. They evaluate his good intentions, whether he believes in his own message, and whether his message is moulded by an encounter with the risen Lord. The Bible provides the sermon’s basic content and foundation, and The Holy Spirit is considered an active agent in the preaching event. The listeners encounter words from God through the sermon. They can experience change in their lives by listening to preaching from caring pastors who create presence for important issues for change to happen.
The Malagasy context and culture form the backcloth throughout the investigation, and this book specifically investigates Malagasy rhetoric, that is, the public speech tradition with regard to its possible role in increasing the impact of preaching on the listeners.


XII, 238
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2012 (March)
Malagasy rhetoric Sunday Preaching Lutheran Church Madagaskar 1867
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. XII, 238 pp.

Biographical notes

Hans Austnaberg (Author)

Hans Austnaberg, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at the School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway, was formerly a seminary teacher in Madagascar and a pastor in Norway. He received his PhD in theology from this institution, writing on exorcism as practiced and understood by the so-called shepherds in the Malagasy Lutheran Church. He has published in academic journals on the revival movement in Madagascar and co-edited a book on preaching for youths in a Norwegian setting.


Title: Improving Preaching by Listening to Listeners