Narrative sermon is a sermon delivered through narrative preaching which is more likely a storytelling. Usually, conclusion and the “something to think about” is found in the last part of the preaching.

There are three main kinds of narrative sermons, the Biblical narrative sermon,  the experiential narrative sermon, and the fictional narrative sermon. Well, I haven’t really read anything about classifications of narrative sermons, but as an observer, I already have heard these three kinds of stories delivered in narrative preaching.

Biblical narratives are stories found directly in the Bible.

Experiential narratives are stories experienced by the preacher or sometimes, a true story of another person.

Fictional narratives are stories that did not happen in real life, or if it did happen, the source and the people involved are unknown. Fictional stories however are not far from happening in real life. The point is, the speaker is in no way involve or unaware of its reality.

In my article “Different Kinds of Sermons”, I made mentioned there several kinds of sermons. And I only touched a small portion of the narrative preaching.

Preaching Narrative Sermons

Narrative sermon is a little hard to preach especially if story telling is not your line. However, I have seen several preachers who were very good at this. And one of my most admired preachers of this kind of sermon is Dr. James Chancellor, a former professor in Church history in Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is not a born preacher by the way. But because of his ability to deliver story (being a church historian), made him an excellent narrative preacher.

Here are some tips on how to preach a narrative sermon:

  1. Know your story. The secret of delivering a good narrative is that you exactly know your story. And this is the hardest part to practice. However, being the hardest part does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to do, actually it is very doable. All you have to do is to practice telling a story in the right way.
  2. Build a tension in your story. As you preach narrative sermon, it is not just about telling the story to your hearers, it is also about creating a tension in their feelings as they listen to the sermon. The tension will be like your key points in regular inductive preaching.
  3. Insert Biblical truths in the conclusion. If you are able to deliver it well, then it shouldn’t be hard to plugin Biblical truths in your story as a solution to your tension. Biblical truths remain to be the word of God in your narrative sermon and it has to be there.
  4. Build a structure. Like all stories, there is a plot in narrative sermon. Try to build it. I am not an expert of plot making but Eugene Lowry gave us some suggestions:

– Upset things (the equilibrium)
– Complicate the tension (discrepancy) through analysis
– Give a clue to resolution (the gospel)
– Unfold the implications of the gospel

222641: The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form, Revised The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form, Revised

By Eugene L. Lowry / Westminster John Knox Press

In The Homiletical Plot Lowry teaches us how to understand the “plot” structure of a biblical narrative and shape a sermon that reflects that narrative structure. As a result, he provides an introduction to narrative preaching that is both unquestionably biblical and remarkably intriguing. His How to Preach a Parable is also quite helpful in the art of preaching.

5. Develop your story telling delivery. Many people struggle a lot in delivering a story. Your voice has to be heard and there should be various tones. Go with the emotion of the story, but don’t make it over acting. Avoid mannerism because it distracts the people watching you.

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t use Narrative Sermons every Sunday. This might get boring in the long run and will be less effective.
  • If you are delivering a Biblical narrative, avoid making some conclusion of what happened or what is happening in the story. Strictly stick with what is written in the Bible.
    222641: The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form, Revised The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form, Revised

    By Eugene L. Lowry / Westminster John Knox Press

    In The Homiletical Plot Lowry teaches us how to understand the “plot” structure of a biblical narrative and shape a sermon that reflects that narrative structure. As a result, he provides an introduction to narrative preaching that is both unquestionably biblical and remarkably intriguing. His How to Preach a Parable is also quite helpful in the art of preaching.

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