When it comes to preaching a Bible story, many skills come into play. I would like to mention a couple for your consideration. In the next weeks many will be preaching story, even those who tend to stay rooted in the epistles. So what is needed for effective delivery of a Bible story? One thing is important to mention before we get to the delivery . . . when you are preaching a Bible story, tell the story! Don’t just dissect it, label it, apply it, etc., but fail to tell it. Stories are powerful, so let them loose on your listeners. Here’s the first key skill, another is coming tomorrow:
Description – Good stories form in the imagination of the listener. In the old days people would crowd around a crackling radio to catch the latest installment of a powerful story. Ever since there were children, stories have been told to captivate, excite, scare and encourage. In recent generations the visual media of television and film have overwhelmed the traditional theatrical presentation of story. Either on the screen, or on the screen of the mind, a good story forms images, it can be “seen.” When we preach we need to tell the story in such a way that people aren’t hearing information, but seeing the images. Description is not easy, but it is worth working on. Accurate description is important, but so too is sensory description – what it looked like, what the sounds were, the smells, the touch, the taste. We need to grow in our awareness of and use of adjectives. Not to show off obscure vocabulary, but to effectively describe so that the story can form for the listener. When was the last time you read quality descriptive literature? (And I don’t mean description of kenosis or intra-trinitarian relationality!)
To tell story well, we must describe well. Practice in your conversations today, practice on your children, seek to develop this skill . . . your preaching will benefit every week!