Thursday, September 27, 2007

How to Preach a Narrative Sermon

Is it difficult to preach a narrative sermon? Some pastors seem to think so while others think it is a breeze. Recently I read a book that teaches narrative preaching. What is interesting is that the author has been preaching it for 50 years!

Calvin Miller (2006), Preaching: The Art of Narrative Preaching (Grand Rapids. MI: Baker Books) is an excellent book by a preacher, pastor and teacher of homiletics (preaching).

Miller takes us through ‘birthing’ a sermon from exegesis, writing, and preaching a sermon. One of his points is to be yourself in the pulpit and not try to imitate another preacher. He has written a poem about being himself.

I’m me, and my “I-ness” is special to me.
Minus my “I-ness” I’d just be like you,
And you’d be like me and that’s nothing new.
“You-ness” looks good, but only on you.
‘Cause “you-ness” wouldn’t fit where “I-ness” should be.
My “I-ness” looks great, but only on me.

The gem of the book is in the appendix where he names and pays tribute to the great preachers and their specific strengths in building a sermon:

Meat and Potatoes (expository base of the sermon): Haddon W. Robinson
The Mind of the Sermon:
Ian Pitt-Watson
The Subject of the Sermon: Bryan Chapell
[subject is always Christ]
The Soul of the Sermon: Barbara Brown Taylor
The Witness of Preaching:
Thomas Long
The Philosophy of Preaching;
John Stott
The Narrative Base: Eugene Lowry
The Movement of the Sermon: David Buttrick
The Spirit and Life of the Sermon:
Donald Coggan
The Sermon and Altar: Calvin Miller


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