5 Ways to Preach Using Your Imagination

My grandfather wrote the book. It's called Preaching and Teaching with Imagination. While you may not have had a chance to read it, the title helps you know what it says already... "Stop boring people with the Bible!" Homiletics courses all over the country and for decades now have used this mantra for helping engage people with God's Word. But here's 5 ways I try to preach and teach with imagination...

  1. Manage the tension, reveal the problem, or don't even bother telling the story. All good stories have tension or dilemmas the character balances or solves. The biggest way to kill narrative preaching and kill your imagination is to refuse to build the crisis point.
  2. Read Between the Lines. The Bible is drama. It's often heart-breaking, hilarious, tense, and a matter of life-or-death. Just because the language is neat doesn't mean the drama isn't thick. Read between the lines by pulling out what's hinted at in the text.
  3. Imagine Modern Day Characters in the Story. I'm a big fan of watching a lot of Netflix. So are millions of people who you preach to. Tap into the common language of today by inserting a favorite character. For a few weeks there, characters from Frozen couldn't go wrong.
  4. Create Triggers for all 5 senses. In Narrative especially, there's huge opportunity for using language to move the listener's mind into the story, and sensory details make it happen.
  5. Use Your Life as the Starting Point. I doubt this is a good hermeneutic, but it makes for a great homiletic. Often I find myself transposing real life situations that I experience into the original situation. Often it helps "humanize" the Bible and shows that we all have experienced something similar to the narrative at hand.

Take a look at how I do these five things in this short clip from a recent message out of Luke 10:38-42.