Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preaching Essentials: Creativity

One of the things that evangelicals are learning to do really, really well is get creative with their preaching. Preachers are bringing massive props, and even live animals, on stage to help drive home the point of their message. I even heard of a pastor who tried to get a tank (army style) on stage one Sunday. No word yet on whether or not the baptismal was blown to smithereens.

The use of video has grown immensely, as well. Playing video clips from popular films used to be cutting edge, but now preachers are developing their own film houses, a la Rob Bell and nooma, to communicate the gospel. Speaking as a video producer and a preacher, this is an encouraging trend, particularly given the high-quality of some of these productions.

But most preachers can't afford their own film crew, an army tank, or a petting zoo for a Sunday morning sermon. There are still ways to be creative, however. Remember, the point of creativity is memorability, and the point of memorability is transformation. Our aim, as preachers, is for God to transform those who listen to us (including ourselves). So your aim, as a preacher, should be to communicate God's word in such a way that it sticks with those who hear you.

This can take a lot of different forms. You can use powerful imagery or good design to support your message. You can try your hand at creative writing or poetry. (Hey, Jesus told parables that he probably made up on the spot! Why shouldn't you?) Think critically about the way that you make your point. The shorter, the better. And the more audacious, the more memorable. But please, whatever you do, never, ever alliterate. Alliteration is dangerous. Alliteration is devastating. Alliteration is dead.

Creativity doesn't have to cost money. The best artists (and preachers are artists) are those who pull their work together through resourcefulness and determination. They pour their souls into their work, not their (or their church's) bank account. Creativity is about remembering. Remembering is about transformation. Transformation is what Jesus is up to on this planet.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

You should turn these "preaching essentials" in to an acronym so they're easier to remember! Or better yet, make them all start with the same letter- that would be soooooo memorable! 5 easy steps to better preaching! I LOVE IT!