Living the “narrative” in “narrative preaching”
Reflections on Reading
Upon reflecting on some of the reading I have been doing for my MTN courses, I read a chapter in the ‘Great Giveaway’ on preaching the word, and was struck by the paradigms of thought with regards to expository preaching and narrative preaching as outlined in the chapter.
The Middle Ground
While there seem to be both positive and negatives in both styles of preaching, Fitch lays down some guidlines for allowing the community of believers to work out the interpretations of scripture as a congregation. This idea combined with either narrative or expository preaching allows for the congregations to work out the interpretation of the scripture in their context as a whole. I would love for the oppurtunity to practice these disciplines. Currently in our church we do look at the interpretations of the scripture during our ‘small group’ times.
On a more personal level I was convicted. It was made very obvious to me that I often treat scripture like a consumable. I feel lost without sermon outline, even some times offended and hopeless. A good friend pointed this out to me during a rather lively and terse conversation about preaching. While I think there is wonderful merit in the discipline of thought in combination with allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart as an individual, I have often discounted the times of community as less important to my needs (another symptom of my consumerism).
I am hopefully that indeed where there are scientific and contextual shortcomings of narrative preaching that the Spirit of God can narrate the text. He is capable of such wonderful things, making the scriptures applicable to our lives but not necessarily formative to our agendas. So many times in my life I have been made aware that God has re-interpreted for me in my mind the scriptures as they apply to his agenda and not mine!
What can we do to allow more of the Holy Spirit in the Church? How do these concepts manifest themselves in our times of ‘Bible Study’. How do we let the Spirit lead?