There is a spiritual hunger in the world today. Many people are seeking answers to life's hard questions. Many people come to church seeking inspiration, help for personal problems, or faith's perspective on life. They come seeking things you cannot find in a search engine. The church has exactly what they need, but too often there is a gap between our message and our ability to send it. Each week, as people pause to learn about faith and get a word of hope, a lot rides on the sermon. Susan Cartmell took a journey across the country to visit churches with great preaching and lively worship. What she discovered was that Evangelical Christians and Unitarian Universalists were using themed preaching effectively to attract new members. Working in her church over the last five years, she has designed a new system for preaching with themes in mainline Protestant churches. She shares her method and her journey in a story that invites you to consider new ways to preach faithfully without using the lectionary. ""Susan Cartmell has written an incisive and personal account of her journey as a preacher, and reports on the discoveries she made along the way. The result is an analysis that will provide ministers important insight into the art of biblical preaching that challenges long-held suppositions on the use of the Common Lectionary. The analysis is accessible and relevant to all who care about the future of mainline Protestantism."" --Christopher Evans, Professor of the History of Christianity, Boston University School of Theology ""Even faithful Christians are often unfamiliar with the content of their own faith, and many have little time, other than Sunday morning, to remedy this. In this new book, Cartmell argues that the weekly lectionary no longer works to guide today's churchgoers; instead she suggests a new, thematic style of preaching that both teaches and engages people with the great themes and ethical imperatives of the faith. A must-read."" --Elizabeth Nordbeck, Moses Brown Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Andover Newton Theological School ""Do we follow the lectionary or follow Jesus? Cartmell's proposal--intuitive, biblically based, user-friendly thematic preaching--is good news for every pastor inclined toward the latter. Rejecting the narrative of a church in decline, Cartmell dares to reimagine Christian proclamation as interactive and inclusive, as tolerant and trenchant. UnCommon Preaching is both witness to congregational revitalization and impetus for different but similarly daring adventures in church reinvention."" --Gregory Mobley, Professor of Christian Bible, Andover Newton Theological School, author of The Return of the Chaos Monsters--and Other Backstories of the Bible Susan E. Cartmell is the Senior Minister of the Congregational Church of Needham, Massachusetts. One of the first women to lead a church this size, she has served as senior minister since 1998. She has written for Christian Century, Upper Room, and Lectionary Homiletics. You can learn more about her at her website www.UncommonPreacher.com.