Preach Magazine Issue 1 - Creativity and innovation in preaching - Page 14

14 FEATURE ‘Bargain Buy! Now £40, was £80! Only Jesus missing!’ Examples such as this provide a very rich opportunity for illustrations. Faith can only be lived out in the context in which we find ourselves and interpreted in the society in which we live. It cannot exist as if it is just in a vacuum, a thing in itself. Faith speaks to current affairs and current affairs speak to faith. These things should challenge us in our preaching. And sometimes points can only be made by unusual illustrations. However, when we try to be creative or innovative it is very important that the illustration does not take away from the central truth of the message. Both creativity and illustration can, of course, be used to challenge the listener. They can provide an excellent opportunity to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, precisely because they take the listener out of the traditional passive comfort zone. The whole idea of preaching is to engage and to provoke a response, a challenge in the heart of the listener. Central to challenge is the need to be stimulated. Therefore, if creativity stimulates and challenges it is a good thing; if it begins to detract from the overall message of the sermon or begins to dominate then it is certainly not a good thing. In conclusion I would have to state that the correct place for creativity and innovation in preaching is not only to capture the attention of the listener but also to further expound the gospel message, so that people can grow in faith and in knowledge and love of God. Of course there are some areas where there can be little scope for innovation: those areas concern the purpose of preaching and the valid content of what is preached. The whole point of preaching is to communicate a message, that message being fundamentally concerned with the things of God, conversion of life and the proclamation of the gospel message. While the medium of delivery LWPT8173 - Preach Magazine - Issue 1 v3.indd 14 can and should change over time, the nature of the message should not. The truth of the gospel and the nature of the love of God are unchanging; the challenge of preaching is one that must be embraced afresh in every age. Edward Dowland-Owen Edward Dowland-Owen is Team Vicar in the Rectorial Benefice of Cowbridge, a rural benefice in the Diocese of Llandaff. He is also Diocesan Spirituality Officer. Previously he has served in urban, post industrial and suburban parishes. If you would like to join the discussion, you can write to Preach Magazine, tweet us using the hashtag #WardDowlandOwen, or post in our Facebook group. We’d love to hear your thoughts. 17/10/2014 12:53:45