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A new study conducted by a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh communications professor seeks to uncover the secrets of life-changing sermons.

Lori Carrell, project director, has conducted the study in cooperation with the Center for Excellence in Congregational Leadership at Green Lake Conference Center.

Using feedback from more than 10,000 churchgoers, the study has found that sermons that include these four traits tend to have a more transformative effect on listeners:

  • They asked for change.
  • They are organized in a way that is easy for people to listen.
  • Regardless of preaching style, they were delivered in ways that authentically communicated relationship and emotion.
  • They integrated listeners’ perspectives.

A series of seven articles written by Carrell will appear in Rev! magazine. The final results of the study will be published in Communication Education in January 2009.

Carrell also hosts “Ask God,” a fast-paced TV show that asks tough — and sometimes taboo — questions about religion that typically are not heard on other Sunday morning shows.