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In my book The Four Codes of Preaching: Rhetorical Strategies I identify the sermon as a unique composition (oral, written, etc.) that includes four “codes” or expected elements of communication. These are:

(1) a “scriptural code” (people expect to hear some interaction with the world expressed in the Bible)

(2) a “semantic code” (people expect to hear a preacher organize and generate messages or “meaning”)

(3) a “theosymbolic code” (people expect to hear the preacher place them within a theological narrative or universe)

(4) a “cultural code” (people expect to hear the preacher connect with their experience and culture).

I adopt the language of “sequencing” a sermon from the world of music-making and music recording where digital audio workstations (DAWs) and midi “sequencers” rule the day.

In chapter three of my book Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention, I boil down much of what is said in The Four Codes of Preaching. In that chapter I speak about “the multi-track sermon,” and encourage preachers to think of the four codes of preaching as if they were tracks of audio recorded into a digital sequencer (DAW). In other words, sermons might be said to have four “tracks” (the codes) that are sequenced together to create a sermon. This is actually a very simple analogy and can be very helpful for preachers who are wanting to get a handle on sermon organization better.

I created a couple of short YouTube videos to demonstrate how this works, and revised these videos recently. If you are interested, here are links to both of these short videos. Enjoy!