Chris Yaw Interviews Richard Cox: What Makes Sermons Memorable?

Taken with permission from


Does our brain react differently to a sermon than any other kind of verbal communication? What makes sermons memorable? And how can we preach more memorable sermons?

These are questions that psychologist, theologian, and preacher Dr. Richard Cox explores in a new book called Rewiring Your Preaching in which he gives pointers to preachers about how the preaching experience can improve.

Recovering Christianity's 'braingates' is just one pointer this sage homilitician offers those of us who want to take preaching to the next level.


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There are differences in how our brain processes sermons. Here are my notes from the interview:


These are environmental cues, like smell, touch, and sight, that traditional churches have preserved, other churches need to recover, and all churches need to emphasize to allow hearers to more fully embrace a sermon.

Keys to Delivering a Memorable Sermon

Sermons must first appeal to what the hearer already knows; must have first transformed the preacher before they can attempt to transform the listener; and must be preached with the conviction first felt in the preacher's life.

Most Congregations Are Made Up of Amateur Theologians

The most common, and frequent, mistake preachers make is to assume people want, and can understand, more than a simple, practical, Bible-based message.

About Richard H. Cox

Richard H. Cox (M.D., Ph.D., D.Min) is president emeritus of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, and teaches in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical School. He previously served on the faculties of Northwestern University Medical School and Rush University Medical School. An ordained clergyman in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Cox is the author of many journal articles and books, including The Sacrament of Psychology and Spirituality and Psychological Health.