preaching by pictures

If I was ever to paint a painting, my only option would be to paint by numbers. The entire endeavour is beyond me. However, if I was ever to write a book on preaching - something I think about periodically ... but briefly - the latest option to come to mind is how to preach by pictures.

It is easy for those who are most committed to exposition to be the ones who are most image-deficient. This is not hard to understand. Their minds are so filled with the importance of the propositions they speak that it is difficult for them to squeeze in a picture here and there.

Well - it is not good enough.

With a UESI (the IFES-related student movement in India) training week starting on Sunday, I 'clicked refresh' on my resources and prepared a simple, little how-to-preach-by-pictures curriculum.

The anchor: preaching well needs a theology
Be held, amidst all the shifting tides of trends/methodologies, by what is forever contemporary.

The corners: preaching well needs a vision
Unpack the Word, the listener, the world, and the preacher and draw them all to Christ, every time.

The Olympic rings: preaching well needs a vocabulary
Remember that preaching fits within a wider, diverse range of ministries of the Word.

The magnifying glass: preaching well needs the text
Linger much longer with the details of the text, thereby igniting the joy of discovery.

The jigsaw puzzle: preaching well needs the context
Avoid error and heresy by embracing 'the restraining influence of context' (Carson).

The chairs: preaching well needs the plotline
Place every message within the good-bad-new-perfect story, getting started in biblical theology.

The map: preaching well needs a shape
Birthing the sermon from a passage needs a midwife to help it emerge through the labour.

The bridge: preaching well needs a connection
Once the meaning of the text is clear, build rapport and impact with listeners in multiple ways.

The tree: preaching well needs a depth
Surface the invisible beliefs which drive visible behaviour by preaching worldviewishly.

The spectrum: preaching well needs a sensitivity
Respecting where the listener is on their way to Christ, develop multiple designs with the sermon.

The library: preaching well needs a variety
Noting the diverse literature in the Bible, enjoy adapting the sermon to fit the different genre.

The backstage: preaching well needs a character
In this very public ministry, attend to the very private matter of building a godly life.

nice chatting



Ben Carswell said…
Love this Paul...though wondering if the Christ & the Spirit are often taken back to one of our first encounters on the way to Marsden Cross when you told me "It takes 30 mins from here to get to the cross..."

Also reminded of Wiersbe's line "The human mind is a picture gallery, not a library" which is so helpful in preaching.
Ben Carswell said…
Oops - let's get that quote exactly right - 'The mind is a picture gallery, not a debating chamber, therefore speak to turn people's ears into eyes so they see the truth'
Paul Windsor said…
Thanks, Ben. I think that Wiersbe quotation is in Teaching and Preaching with Imagination - right? I've always admired him for that book. After making a career out of a certain kind of preaching, he was prepared to say "oops" about the way he had done certain things. And it was in this very area where the most committed expositors are most vulnerable ... they just do not use their imagination and creativity enough, in their pursuit of something that becomes weightily propositional. I like the way he articulates a case for proposition and imagination.
Ben Carswell said…
I think so...we could do with more preachers reading & applying that book. I'll have to tell you about my time with him a few weeks back. I thought of you when I was there - you'd have loved it!

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