In yesterday’s post I highlighted a helpful point from Jay Adams’ book, Preaching with Purpose, in which he emphasized the need for preaching to all five senses. For some of us this may come easy. For others of us, this will take some real work. Here are a couple of practice exercises that may help.
The Study Search – Adams suggests working within the confines of your study. Touch, smell, taste, listen, and look at everything around you. What does that wood feel like? What does that old book smell like? How does the painkiller tablet taste? What about the sound of the door opening? And that pile of stuff on your desk, what does it look like? Take a few minutes and observe carefully. Perhaps in the process you will come up with numerous similes and anecdotes to vivify your preaching.
The Scripture Search – Take a poetic passage – a psalm or song. Carefully comb through it looking for sensory language or allusions (direct or implied). Make note of ways to preach that text so that the senses are fully engaged. For instance, try Psalm 113 or 133 for starters. Then consider a narrative passage – life is lived with five senses, so this shouldn’t be too hard. What sensory language could be used to communicate this narrative vividly? Perhaps try Luke 15, or Genesis 39.