Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English and Linguistics

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Lee, Janie

Major or Concentration



This paper examines sermons taken from Southern Baptist churches in Virginia to study how the forms of sermons contribute to the message of the sermons. The data for the study comes from publicly posted recordings of sermons on websites of churches registered with the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia. I took five sermons, transcribed, and analyzed them using methods of discourse analysis. I find that Southern Baptist pastors change their tempo mid-utterance, pause often, change pronouns between themselves and the congregation, and refer to the weekly sermon as a reference point in time. I argue that these discourse features mark the sermon as a linguistic performance for congregants and that they provide rhetorical power to the sermon while highlighting cultural values of the Southern Baptist religious community.