Over the years I’ve taught preaching in university courses and mentored a number of preaching apprentices and preachers-in-training. This series summarizes some of the most basic yet most useful preaching points I’ve emphasized in these settings.
I hope you’ll join the fantastic Jim Martin and me as we teach “Preaching That Connects” at Harding School of Theology (Memphis, TN) Feb. 28-Mar. 7, 2013. This D. Min. course promises to be practical and inspiring.
Preaching Point #15: The Story Factor - In a culture increasingly uninformed about the Christian faith preaching will find fresh ways to explore the Story and not just the stories of Scripture.
From a cultural standpoint (Western culture), more and more are growing up outside of churches and without the explicit teaching of Scripture. This means that many do not only not know specifics of Scripture (the stories in the Bible), they do not know the general narrative of Scripture (The Story of the Bible). Even those who regularly attend Christian worship services may have little understanding of the “big picture” of the Bible and the worldview presented by the Christian faith. There is currently much debate even within Christendom regarding what this Story is and exactly how we might summarize the overarching theme of the Bible.
From a biblical standpoint, it is clear that the authors of the Gospels and writers like Paul viewed their contributions not as end in themselves but as chapters within a much larger and longer novel. For example, through direct and indirect links back to the Old Testament, these writers understood their volumes as an extension of volumes which came long before them.
Thus, to be incarnational and speak to the current culture, and to be truly biblical, preaching today must strive to help listeners not only grasp “stories” within Scripture but “the Story” of Scripture.
One recent attempt which might inform such preaching comes from James Choung. He summarizes Scripture with his “Big Story.” James uses four circles written on a napkin to describe the Story and show why that Story matters today.
- Christianity Todayinterview with Choung in which he describes his summary and its importance.
- Part 1 and Part 2 of a video (3 minutes each) in which Choung presents his summary of the “Big Story” on paper and then answers questions people might ask.
- Here is James’ summary in book form (True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In) and booklet form (Based on a True Story).
How about you? How do you communicate “The Story” of Scripture in your preaching?