So we have suggested that since narrative is such a critical form of literature in Scripture, pervading both Testaments at length, and since we live life in the tension / resolution cycle of micro and macro narratives, therefore we need to ponder how narrative influences our preaching. We have suggested the importance of telling the story, and of trusting the story instead of looking to always get past it to the important stuff. Now for another implication:
3. Don’t just tell the story and move on, but revisit, review, retell, re-engage the narrative. Sometimes we are just too quick to move on. We tell the story without effective description, emotion, clarification, cultural awareness, etc. Then we move on to our lengthy content. A well told story will include effective description, cultural explanations, empathetic energy, physical movement, etc. And it also needs the often missing ingredient of time. Time to dwell in the tension. Time to ponder the problem. Time to feel the resolution. Time to respond to the work of God in that story, and if told well, in my story. So why not follow up the story with a partial re-telling and review as you conclude the message and apply the truths? Why not revisit the narrative for a subsequent sermon instead of moving rapidly on at “break-impact” speed (i.e. fast enough to avoid any passage really hitting home!) Or to be creative, why not have a session where listeners can actively participate in reflecting on the story, or retelling the story, or talking through the impact of the story?
Perhaps you can think of other ways to linger longer in a story preached, so that the church can be changed more completely by it? Tomorrow we will see the final implication in this series.