Preaching for Young and Old (FoSS)

Research Question

How is preaching done and experienced by participants of different age, and with different background, in worships services that includes an event from the Plan for Christian Education? 


The Plan for Christian Education (from now on, NO2010) has made its mark on worship services in The Church of Norway during the last decade. So far, little research has been done on preaching in these worship services. This project aims to examine the preaching part of the worship service. However, we understand preaching in an expanded way, including other elements of the worship service that relates to the text or theme of the day. We are, in other words, concerned with everything that belongs to the "Word" part of the worship service . Our primary concern is to understand what happens in the meeting between the spoken sermon, the preacher and the situated listener in the physical, concrete context of the worship service for participants of different age and background. We will mainly look at worship services for children up until the age of 11.

Though our primary concern is preaching, we see the importance of including the whole worship service in our analysis so that we can better understand how preaching is done and experienced. Our material is preaching in 8 worship services which includes an event from NO2010. This includes a special analytical attention to the meeting between actors and tools (artefacts) in the preaching and in the context of the worship service. We will see these worship services through a sosiomaterial lens.  The material consists of video recordings of the worship services, fieldnotes, pictures, and interviews with both clergy and participants in the worship service (both young and old). 

Background for the project

The Plan for Christian Education in the Church of Norway, God gives - We share ​

recommends that every activity in Christian education should be connected to the congregation’s worship. (p 29)

The purpose is twofold. Firstly, that through this the children will be incorporated into the fellowship of the congregation, and secondly, that the children will learn something. The ideal is that the worship should be relevant for children and youth and their families. How is this achieved when the congregations main worship is part of an event in the NO2010, which necessarily is aimed at children of a particular age, for instance 4-year olds (they receive a book), 6-year olds (baptism school and book), 7-9 year olds (Tårnagenter) or 11-year olds (Code B, Lys Våken or junior confirmands), in addition to the regular congregation?   

Being teachers at MF, we also experience that our students seek lecturing and learning resources that address intergenerational preaching. Based on our own experience as practionars (pastors) we believe that this research will be such a resource for  those who are to preach for young and old. 

Contribution to homiletical research

There is not much published work on the subject of preaching for young and old. In Norwegian homiletic textbooks the subject glimmers with its absence 
(Wisløff 1951, Skjevesland 1985, Nordhaug 2000).
The same goes for newer contributions to the field of homiletics 
(Austnaberg 2012 og 2015, Mosdøl 2013, Skjæveland 2013, Mosdøl og Skjæveland 2013, Fylling 2015).

Neither in newer Scandinavian homiletic literature is the subject of preaching and children addressed
(Sundqvist 2003, Sundberg 2008, Johanson og Ottensten 2010, Gaarden og Lorensen 2013, Gaarden 2014 og 2015, Lorensen 2011, 2014).

This show that there clearly is a lacuna in the homiletical field, which our project aims to fill. There has, however, recently been published other empirical studies that examines Christian education plans and worship services, in which one of the chapters focus on preaching (Angell unpublished). We therefore intend to study an, until now, unexplored empirical field - preaching for both young and old in worship services that include an event from NO2010.