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A Preacher's Tale

Explorations in Narrative Preaching

A Preacher's Tale

Explorations in Narrative Preaching

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334056539
Number of Pages: 160
Published: 28/02/2018
Width: 13.5 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

Many clergy receive little training in the arts of preaching and it is assumed that they will learn by gaining experience. The renowned American preacher Herbert O'Driscoll suggests that congregations do not want to be given a map showing them how to get to the coast, they want to be drenched in the spray.

Narrative preaching is a means of achieving such immediacy. By dramatic story-telling, it invites listeners into enter the text imaginatively and enables them to experience sermons as transformative events.

A Preacher's Tale aims to provide not just a theoretical introduction, but a resource that uses sermons in the narrative style to reflect on how to prepare and construct them and how to deliver them effectively in the context of worship. 

Acknowledgements ix

Preface by the Revd Dr David J.Schlafer xi

Introduction xvii

1 The Cool of the Day: Preaching with Imagination and Plot 1

Genesis 3.1–24

2 Legion: Hearing Voices 7

Luke 8.26–39

3 The Certain Lawyer: Preaching the Familiar 13

Luke 10.25–37

4 Eli Seeing Clearly: Inhabiting a Character 18

1 Samuel 3.1–20

5 Pictures of Heaven: Preaching Possibilities 23

Revelation 21.1–6a

6 Peter and Jesus: Weaving a Background Thread 28

Matthew 16.13–28

7 Having Faith: Preaching a Slide-show 33

Matthew 9.9–13, 18–26

8 A Certain Ship: Playing with an Image 38

Matthew 20.1–16

9 Weeding: Ways of Seeing 43

Matthew 13.24–30, 36–43

10 Advent Stars: Preaching from Shared Experience 49

Matthew 2.2

11 Getting Ugly: Preaching the Peculiar 54

Mark 3.20–35

12 Don’t Do It, Lord: Preaching a Prayer 59

Luke 2.1–7

13 Luke’s Editor: Preaching Fiction 63

Luke 21.5–36

14 The Wife of Noble Character: Scene-shifting 68

Proverbs 31.10–31

15 Yearnings: Listening for the Unheard Voice 73

Ezekiel 36.24–28

16 Great Gable Remembrance: Finding the General in the Particular Psalm 121 77

17 Resurrection Story: Preaching Poetry 82

Matthew 28.1–10

18 Sarah Laughs: Panning Back 89

Genesis 18.1–15

19 Speaking in Tongues: Getting in on the Action 94

Acts 2.1–21

20 Pictures at an Exhibition: Inventing a Narrative 99

Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52

21 Naboth’s Vineyard: Preaching the Past into the Present 104

1 Kings 21.1–21a

22 Paul’s Sound-bite: Preaching St Paul 109

Romans 5.1–15

23 Five Husbands: Preaching Painful Stories 115

John 4.5–26

24 Grasping Rainbows: Preaching Questions 120

Genesis 9.8–17

25 Lord of the Dance: Preaching the Gospel More Than the Passage 124

26 Party Spirit: Preaching a Proposition 129

John 2.1–11

27 In the Beginning: Avoiding an Explanation 134

Genesis 1.1–2.3

28 A Christmas Journey: Preaching on the Move 138

The Christmas Lessons

Afterword 143

Matthew 17.1–8

Further Reading


Jon Russell

Jon Russell is a parish priest in Northumberland. For the past ten years he has taught narrative preaching, firstly as part of Reader Training in the Diocese of Newcastle; then, since its inception, as part of the Lindisfarne Regional Training Partnership, training readers and ordinands in the dioceses of Newcastle and Durham. He is a regular contributor to The Preacher magazine.

'Jon Russell draws the reader into a multiple conversation - with the biblical text which he handles with immense respect; with the noble army of preachers who each week wrestle with recalcitrant sermons; with the contemporary world as it illuminates and contradicts the life of faith and with his own playful imagination, shocking, surprising, delighting and refreshing. This is a wonderfully stimulating book.' -- David Day

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