Las prácticas de la predicación cristiana

Rudimentos para la proclamación eficaz


6. Preach Creatively

Chapter 6 - Introduction

Chapter 6 - Collaborator Discussion

Learning Activities

Group Discussion Questions (could be offered as an individual activity as well)

  1. Listen to the Fred Craddock sermon clip below. How does Fred Craddock tell the gospel story through another story about something that happened to him. What makes the story a good story? What makes someone a good storyteller?
  1. “But I’m not creative” and “Creative preaching isn’t faithful preaching” are two of the statements that hinder creativity in preachers. How do these statements strike you? Do you resonate with these statements? If so, why? If not, why not? Explain.
  2. Listen to the Jill Briscoe sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt, Jill Briscoe uses her creativity in order to help her listeners see and feel the power of the gospel? What strategies does she use in order to accomplish this goal?
  1. Read the following excerpt from an essay by Anna Carter Florence on imaginative preaching.
  2. So, what exactly does a “faithfully imaginative” sermon look like? This is hard to say; it may be easier to start with what it doesn’t look like. A sermon that has arisen out of the preacher’s faithful imagination doesn’t look like a dressed-up version of a regular old, workaday sermon. It isn’t a sermon in party clothes. It probably looks like an invitation to go and live somewhere. It probably looks like a person (the preacher) who has agreed, for a few transparent moments, to show us what it might look like to actually accept that invitation. Most of all, I think it looks like a moment when we know, for sure, that we are in the presence of grace and truth—and the world we thought we knew seems different, somehow. It has movement. It has possibility. It has a place where we fit, each one of us. In those moments, the preacher disappears. The focus is on another realm, another place; we leave that sort of sermon saying, “I saw something completely new today!” instead of “What a star that preacher is!” 1
    What would have to happen for your preaching to move closer to Florence’s description? What would you have to give up? What would you gain?
  3. Our congregants are distracted by all kinds of impediments as are we. What distractions do you engage in so that you can keep yourself from being bored? What keeps you from having time to think, and why do you think it keeps you from that important time?
  4. Watch the Jonathan Pokluda sermon clip below. In this sermon clip, Jonathan Pokluda uses his introduction as a way to orient listeners to the subject of meaninglessness in the Book of Ecclesiastes (Ecc. 2:1-11). How does he use his creativity in order to help people engage with the main theme of the sermon (hint: he does it in more than one way? Why do you think his listeners remembered this introduction more than they remembered other introductions?

  1. Think of some of the creative preachers that you have heard recently. In what way were they creative? What did they do well?
  2. We mentioned at least three obstacles to creativity in preaching: constraint, time pressure, and overemphasis on the status quo. Which obstacle do you struggle with most? Why? What changes could you make to have it be less of a struggle?
  3. Watch the Oscar Romero sermon clip below. In this sermon excerpt (the final sermon that he preached before being assassinated), Oscar Romero connects the imaginative work of theology together with the pursuit of justice. How does he do this?
  1. Where do you see creativity on display in Scripture? Where do you see it on display in your everyday life?
  2. How could you “collaborate instead of isolate” in the preparation and delivery of sermons?
  3. Listen to the Ralph West sermon clip below. Analyze Ralph West’s creativity as you listen to this audio file. For instance, how does the preacher make his words “sing” through poetics? What metaphors does he use for God? How does he tell a story?

  1. Florence, The Preaching Imagination, 122 (emphasis in original).

Individual Reflection Activity (for preaching journal outside of class or in-class writing activity)

  1. Where do I locate myself in my attentiveness to preaching creative / imaginative sermons? What do these insights reveal to me?

  2. If I were to solicit feedback, what would others tell me (or what have they already told me) about my attentiveness to preaching creatively?

  3. What would it look like for me to take greater risks (i.e., stretch myself) in preaching creatively in order to grow?

  4. Name two to three attainable goals that will help you grow in your capacity to preach creatively. In addition to writing down your goals, explain why you chose these goals.