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Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Preaching for Special Occasions

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/06/2020

Course Description

This course is a study in the selection, preparation and delivery of sermons to meet the needs of the contemporary church family. Attention is given to the preaching of the special occasion sermons (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Weddings, Funerals, etc).



(HOMI 605 or HOMI 611) and (LEAD 635 or PLED 635)


Preaching for special occasions will take the student who has demonstrated a mastery of expository preaching and prepare them for the type of special occasion preaching that occurs in typical local church ministry settings. Students will learn how to exposit Biblical texts that directly relate to special occasions like weddings, funerals, holidays, and other unique events that occur while serving a local church. The course will equip the student to select an appropriate text for various special occasions, as well as prepare and deliver a tailored sermon manuscript for such occasions that is practically applied and gospel driven.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Create a sermon manuscript for special occasions and select holidays.
  2. Relate scriptural passages expositorily to sermons on special occasions and select holidays.
  3. Evaluate sermons that have been used for special occasions and select holidays.
  4. Create a portfolio of sermons for various events that pastors will face in the life of their ministry.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to preach for a special occasion or select holiday.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Liberty University. Word Search Homi Cognate Access Key. Nashville: Lifeway Church Resources, 2014. ISBN: 9781932213706. MBS Direct SKU: 1486000.

Hemphill, Kenneth, Ed. Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2016.

Chappell, Bryan. The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach: Help from Trusted Preachers for Tragic Times. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 2011.

Vines, Jerry and Jim Shaddix. Power in the Pulpit. Nashville: Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2017.

Gibson, Scott M. Preaching for Special Services. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Co., 2001.

Nelson, Arthur. A Book of Prayers: A Guide to Public and Personal Intercession. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2012.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200 words. (Outcomes: B, C)

Sermon Series Plan (3)

Each student will craft a 4–6-Sermon Series Plan for 3 different special occasions. The occasions will be a revival, a holiday series, and a family series using Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. (Outcomes: B, D, E)

Sermon Manuscript

Each student will write a 15-page sermon manuscript for an expositional funeral service. This manuscript will utilize the appropriate formatting to demonstrate the various elements of the sermon. (Outcomes: A, B, E)

Book Critiques (2)

Each student will write a 700–1000-word book critique on the selected textbooks and will conform to current Turabian style for book reviews. All citations must be in-text parenthetical citations giving only the page number or locator information. (Outcomes: C)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 50 pts ea)


Sermon Series Plan (3 at 175 pts ea)


Sermon Manuscript


Book Critiques (2 at 100 pts ea)





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


HOMI 635

Textbooks: Hemphill, Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook (2016).

Chappell, The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach (2011).

Vines, Power in the Pulpit (2017).

Gibson, Preaching for Special Services (2001).

Nelson, A Book of Prayers (2012).


Reading & Study




Chappell: chs. 1–4

Gibson: chs. 1–3

1 presentation

2 websites

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Chappell: chs. 5–11

Vines: ch. 1

Gibson: chs. 4–6

1 presentation

1 website

DB Forum 2



Hemphill: Selected Readings

Chappell: chs. 12–18

Vines: chs. 2-3

1 presentation

Sermon Series Plan 1



Hemphill: Selected Readings

Chappell: chs. 19–20

Vines: ch. 4-5

Nelson: sec. 1–3

1 presentation

Sermon Series Plan 2



Hemphill: Selected Readings

Chappell: chs. 21–25

Vines: ch. 6-7

Nelson: sec. 4–6

1 presentation

Sermon Series Plan 3



Hemphill: Selected Readings

Vines: ch. 8

Nelson: sec. 7–9

1 presentation

Book Critique 1



Vines: ch. 9

Nelson: sec. 10–12

1 presentation

Sermon Manuscript



Vines: ch. 10

1 video

1 website

Book Critique 2




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.