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HOW TO BREAK APART A NARRATIVE FOR PREACHING METHADOLOGICALLY

22 November 2007

Daniel Doriani, preaching minister at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO, recently gave the main lectures at the 2007 Westminster Conference on Reformed Preaching at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, he gave his introductory sermon to the lecture series. But before he preached on the story of Jesus beckoning Peter to walk on the water, he gave a summary of how he tears apart a narrative in his sermon preparation. I found the outline helpful. Here are my notes on his lecture:

  1. Identify your story. Preach on the ENTIRE periscope. If it is 10 verses, let it be 10 verses. If it is 60 verses let it be 60 verses. “Let God’s unit of action be our unit of preaching.” Think hard and long before preaching on just half of a story.
  2. Locate where we are
    1. Physically-what land
    2. Time period
    3. Atmosphere-tense, happy, etc.
    4. Level of God’s activity/Where are we in the movement of redemption
    5. In a house or a field or temple or wherever.
  3. Identify the characters
    1. Triune God is always present
    2. Major char/Minor char
    3. Believers/Unbelievers
    4. Believers acting brilliantly, believers acting like unbelievers
  4. What event that starts the drama
  5. Find climax of the narrative—the point at which you would be holding your breath if you had been there. Example of Daniel & Lions den; we no longer hold our breath [we know how it ends], but IF YOU HAD BEEN THERE WHEN WOULD BE HOLDING YOUR BREATH?
  6. Final Resolution-when you exhale!
  7. Main point is usually found around –just before or just after—the climax/resolution nexus; usually in the dialog or commentary surrounding the climax/resolution. Sometimes God is speaking, sometimes it is the narrator; sometimes it is others.

His entire lecture can be found at:
http://media.gospelcom.net/wts/PC_2007_DD1.mp3

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