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Giving Blood

A Fresh Paradigm for Preaching
Leonard Sweet
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A Groundbreaking Resource for Preaching

If the church wishes to converse effectively with a culture, it must learn the culture’s language. Today, shifts in technology mean that language is increasingly one of symbols and metaphors, stories and images—not words.

So what does this mean for the sermon, that long-standing, word-based tradition of Christianity?

In this ground-breaking resource, bestselling author Leonard Sweet offers an alternative to traditional models of preaching, one that is fitting to a new culture and a new mode of thinking. The first book of its kind to move preaching beyond its pulpit-centric fixation and toward more interactive, participatory modes of communication, Sweet presents both a challenge and a path forward for a church struggling to maintain its relevance in a post-modern, media-saturated culture.

About the Author

Leonard Sweet is an author of many books, professor (Drew University, George Fox University, Tabor College), creator of, and a popular speaker throughout North America and the world. His “Napkin Scribbles” podcasts are available on


'In Giving Blood, arguably his most magisterial work, Leonard Sweet keeps one hand on the pulse of the culture, one hand on the heart of ministry, and two eyes on the Great Physician. Drawing from a typically eclectic cavalcade of sources, Sweet has pieced together a master class in twenty-first century homiletics. Along with a winning appeal to preaching that is truly participative, readers will find here many skill-building interactivities and a wealth of sheer artistry that delights and inspires. Any seasoned or would-be homiletician who does not come across something in this book to stir his or her blood had better check their pulse.' -- Alan Rathe, author of (the forthcoming) Evangelicals, Worship, and Participation: Turn-of-the-Millennium Reading

'Len Sweet provides a fresh and much needed perspective of preaching that goes far beyond the reductionist approaches dominating homiletics today. He helps preachers see and communicate scriptural truths in far more holistic, understandable, memorable, and moving ways. The New Testament shows us that Jesus’ own approach to preaching was filled with narrative and metaphor. Sweet taps into long-forgotten, yet indispensable, communication tools and provides a comprehensive manual that is valuable for those starting out in ministry as well as experienced preachers who see the need for a fresh approach to reach today’s listeners.' -- Alan Ehler, Dean, College of Christian Ministry and Religion, Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida

'Simply put, Giving Blood is the primer for the art of semiotic preaching and is destined to become a true preaching paradigm shifter.' -- James Merritt, Lead Pastor at Cross Pointe Church

'Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said: “The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over.' In this, his latest work, Dr. Leonard Sweet challenges today's 'heralds of hope' to communicate old truths in new ways. His passion for Christ and his Church can be found on every page of this book. This is a must read!' -- Donald Hilliard Jr., Lead Pastor, Cathedral International and Assistant Associate Professor, Drew University

'Bold and accessible, Giving Blood will revitalize pastors and communities suffering the deadly effects of stale preaching and pump new life into the twenty-first century church. Refreshing!' -- Wendy J. Deichmann, PhD, President, United Theological Seminary

'For those of us who bemoan the lack of appreciation of current communication theory in homiletics, this is the book. Finally, something that moves beyond a linear understanding to a broader perspective incorporating the digital and image. 5 stars!' -- Dale Keller, Professor of Corporate Communication, Taylor University

'Len Sweet has done it again! Giving Blood offers a much-needed transfusion both for those in the pulpit and those in the pew. Len is the Duke Ellington of homileticians: his intricately woven metaphors inspire us away from preaching models that are incompatible with culture and toward the relational, improvisational ones we find Jesus embodying on the pages of the gospels. This kind of preaching offers lifeblood to preachers and their churches. You'll want to read this book -- it's good to the last drop!' -- Dr. Jay Richard Akkerman, Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Theology, Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, Idaho

'Label this book 'O Negative'. It is rare and urgently needed. Good for all types.' -- Heather Murray Elkins, Professor of Worship, Preaching, and the Arts, Drew University

'Leonard Sweet is an atypical theologian and one of the most insightful spiritual thinkers of the 21st century. In this book he has accurately diagnosed the spiritual condition of our contemporary culture and found it in need of life – the life that is in the blood. He has detected the inability of spiritual physicians to dispense the very life-blood needed by their patients, those who fill the pews and the corridors of our culture. Dying men and women come to the emergency room of the church in need of trauma specialists. Sweet invites us to go with him on rounds as we hone our skills in dispensing life.' -- Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Senior Pastor/Teacher, Faithful Central Bible Church, Los Angeles

  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 368
  • Format: Hardcover, Jacketed
  • ISBN: 9780310515456
  • Release: March 25, 2014
Categories Ministry