CLIMATE IN THE PULPIT: EFFECTIVENESS OF SERMONS TO INFLUENCE ATTITUDES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND CREATION CARE

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2022-12-16

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Abstract

As moral messengers and trusted institutions, houses of worship can be effective messengers on climate change and “creation care.” The sermon provides a uniquely impactful place for an intervention into the educational life of a church, yet there is a dearth of research on the effectiveness of sermons to inspire pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors. Through survey and focus group assessment of three-part sermon series at three congregations, this study addresses this gap by examining how different environmental communication and homiletical frames elicit different responses in congregants. The results from the surveys and from the focus groups show that congregants who heard three sermons on climate change/creation care presented from through the frames of biblical storytelling, Biblical-rootedness, and data/science expressed greater pro-environmental attitudes as compared to their baseline. It is unclear whether these sermons impact pro-environmental behavior on the one-month scale measured. Preachers seeking to preach on climate change and creation care should use a multi-week series, use different homiletical and environmental communications frames throughout the series, and creatively employ scripture and stories.

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Davis, Avery (2022). CLIMATE IN THE PULPIT: EFFECTIVENESS OF SERMONS TO INFLUENCE ATTITUDES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND CREATION CARE. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26363.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.