David A. Farmer

Affiliate in Homiletics

Dr. David Farmer

Ph.D., the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Homiletics)
M.Div., the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Homiletics)
B.A., Carson-Newman College (Religion)

“The preacher’s primary responsibility is a risky, lonely one. While numerous commentaries, if needed, are available to assist the preacher in understanding a biblical text in its original milieu, the application of that text to the real-life challenges with which a specific set of hearers grapple can only be determined by the preacher in communion with God; there are no written sources to confirm accuracy of contemporary, localized application – the heart of any effective sermon."

Dr. David Albert Farmer grew up near Knoxville, Tennessee, in Halls Crossroads--40 minutes from Dolly Parton’s hometown. In Halls Crossroads, he preached his first sermon when he was 14 years old.  Similar to Ms. Parton, Dr. Farmer, when given the opportunity, can bounce quickly into a pure southern dialect polished with a twang. He embraces much of his southern heritage with appreciation and still enjoys hearing stereotypes of southern preachers, such as the assumption that they all like to eat fried chicken, especially on Sundays.

Named one of 2009’s 14 people of influence in the state of Delaware by Delaware Today magazine, Farmer, pastor of Wilmington’s Silverside Church for 13 years, is the author of four books, the first being And Blessed Is She: Sermons by Women, and more than 40 journal articles related to preaching. Some 100 of his sermons have been published in such periodicals as The Ministers Annual Manual. In addition, he has contributed chapters to several books including The Storyteller's Companion to the Bible, Judges - Kings. He was a contributor with Jürgen Moltmann and others to the book, Resurrection and Responsibility: Essays on Scripture, Theology, and Ethics in Honor of Thorwald Lorenzen. Dr. Farmer’s chapter is entitled “Ethos, Compassion, and Human Rights: A Foundation for Homiletical Ethics.” His article, “Preaching and Terrorism,” appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Clergy Journal.

Farmer edited the international preaching journal, Pulpit Digest, for eighteen years and attracted the attention of religious journalists across the country and in Canada when he, a Caucasian, became the founding editor of The African American Pulpit. (Typical question: “How can a white guy edit sermons by persons of color?” Typical answer: “Joyfully!”) He served a five-year stint as General Editor of an annual volume for a New Interpreter's publication from Abingdon Press entitled The Pastor's Bible Study.

Dr. Farmer developed, about a decade ago, a sermon style that he calls “The Segmented Sermon.”  Based on his research in contemporary communication theory about western attention spans, he preaches his Sunday sermons (and offers his advanced students the chance to try it out for themselves) at three separate parts of a service.  Each of the three segments of the one unified sermon lasts for 7 to 8 minutes, which is the amount of time a “typical” adult in the US can focus with full attention on words being spoken to them.

He is the proud dad of two young adult sons. Farmer is a dog lover (currently sharing living space with two canines plus his grandcat who came for a “temporary” visit when Farmer’s younger son moved to Oregon two years ago) and a supporter of animal rights. He enjoys jaunts to Broadway theater productions and especially loves finding in those plays rich illustrative materials for his sermons.