Do you want to boost your preaching creativity? Do you want more people to walk away from the church gathering and actually remember the big idea from your sermon? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? None of us ever set out to preach sermons that are unmemorable. But how can we make our sermons more memorable?
Too often, we fall into ruts in our creativity. And it’s not because we’re not creative. No. It’s because we’ve settled into a way of thinking. We read the same kind of things. We pay attention to the same kind of things. Too many of us are sitting in a box and simply recycling what is in those boxes.
The following ways to boost your preaching creativity require you to get out of that box. You have to be willing to step out and look around. Instead of seeing the vast walls of cardboard surrounding you, jump out—you’re tall enough—and see the vast expanse of possibility.
You can preach more memorable sermons, and these three things will help you do it.
3 Ways to Boost Your Preaching Creativity
1. Look for Unexpected Connections
Open your eyes to what is around you every day. As I tell my wife, “Everything is a sermon illustration.” Literally everything.
Go to a coffee shop, go to the mall, go to the park, go anywhere where there are people, and simply open your eyes to what is going on.
Read a lot of books and pay attention to the storyline or the way they are teaching something. Notice how much narrative is part of the book. And as a result, notice how much they make unexpected connections.
What you’ll find is that when you are opening your eyes to see the teachable moments and the connections in everything, you’ll have droves and droves of ideas. Write them down. I use Evernote. And then the next time you are sitting down to prepare a sermon, you can look through your list of illustrations from observation and make some unexpected connections.
2. Explore and Discover the Angles
Let’s use the Beatitudes as a case study for this idea. So here you are—you want to preach a sermon series on the Beatitudes, but you want to spice up the creativity. Let’s explore and discover the angles you could approach them from.
What do the Beatitudes speak to? Quite simply, they show us the attitudes of Christ and His followers.
But what else informs our attitudes as people? Peers, parents, movies, television shows, music, teachers, coaches, the culture, etc.
So now that we’ve looked at some potential opposing sources of attitudes, we can choose which of them we want to approach our series on the Beatitudes. Let’s see a couple of these play out some.
The angle of peers – Call the series Bad Advice. In it, contrast the advice we sometimes get from our friends with the wisdom of Jesus in the Beatitudes.
The angle of music – Call the series The Album of Life. In it, you can explore how music can shape us and how orienting our lives around the rhythm of the Beatitudes can change lyrics of our lives.
Get out of the box. Go explore and discover the angles.
3. Make Analogies Your Friend
Jesus did this. The kingdom of God is like…
As Eric McKiddie has said, “Analogies in general highlight points of comparison, but the best analogies end with unexpected punch lines that draw out a surprising connection.”
Analogies can be especially helpful when you want to connect a theological idea with the heart of the listener. Let’s take sin as our example. What is sin like?
Let’s throw out some ideas…
Sin is like a disease in our bloodstream, it ruins us. [Then you could add what Jesus does…] Our only cure is a blood transfusion from Christ.
Sin destroys us like a fire destroys a home. [Then you could add what Jesus does…] Jesus builds us anew—fireproof.
The analogies pull at the heart. And as a result, help the big idea stick with the congregation.
How Are You Stepping Out of the Box and Increasing Creativity?
This article originally appeared here.