Alyce McKenzie

Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Director, The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU

Alyce McKenzie




Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1994; M.Div., The Divinity School, Duke University, 1980; B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1977

Teaching Specialties

Preaching biblical wisdom literature from both testaments, Job, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Proverbs, as well as the aphorisms and parables of Jesus; imagination and creativity in preaching; Contemporary sermonic forms for creative sermon design; Scene creation and storytelling in preaching, Strategies for preaching on controversial public issues; the use of humor in preaching beyond the opening joke. The concept of friendship in the identity of the preacher.

Research Interests

Preaching biblical wisdom in a culture glutted with information and light on wisdom; preaching the aphorisms and parables of the synoptic Jesus in the context of continuous cultural proverb-creation; strategies for preaching in response to crises, controversies and chronic social concerns; preaching and imagination; creative sermon design; the use of humor in sermons to challenge and unite congregations, the concept of friend, both real and imagined in the life of faith.

Selected Publications

:: Humor Us! Preaching and the Power of the Comic Spirit, co-authored with Owen Hanley Lynch (Westminster John Knox Press, 2023)

:: Wise Up! Four Biblical Virtues for Navigating Life (Cascade Books, 2018).

:: Making a Scene in the Pulpit: Vivid Preaching for Visual Listeners (Westminster John Knox Press, 2018).

:: The Parables for Today (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007).

:: Hear and Be Wise: Becoming a Teacher and Preacher of Wisdom (Abingdon Press, 2004).

:: Preaching Biblical Wisdom in a Self-Help Society (Abingdon Press, 2002).

:: “Matthew.” Interpretation Bible Study Series (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).

:: Preaching Proverbs: Wisdom for the Pulpit (Westminster John Knox Press, 1996).

:: What Not to Say: Avoiding the Common Mistakes that can Sink Your Sermon (Westminster John Knox Press, 2012) (with John Holbert)

:: Novel Preaching: Tips from Top Writers on Crafting Creative Sermon Sermons (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010)

:: Parental Discretion Advised: Preaching to Adults from the Old Testament, co- edited, with Charles Aaron (Chalice Press, 2013)

Professional Distinctions

Ordained elder, The United Methodist Church, North Texas Annual Conference, 2006


Lilly Faculty Fellow, 2001-2002


Co-editor of Homiletic, The Journal of the Academy of Homiletics, (with John C. Holbert) 2000-2008


Recipient of Perkins Scholarly Outreach Awards in 2005, 2011, and 2022


Recipient of Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Award, Southern Methodist University’s highest teaching honor, 2011


Preacher in Residence, Christ United Methodist Church, Plano, Texas, 2013-2019


President, The Academy of Homiletics, 2012


Recipient of Ford Research Fellowship, Southern Methodist University, 2014


2015 Lyman Beecher Lecturer; Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT. The Beecher Lectures are the longest running preaching lectureship in the United States, begun in 1872.


Recipient of Honorary Doctorate from Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, MO, 2022

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