We must constantly paint the big picture of the Bible story and tell it in as many ways as possible through our preaching.”1
There has been a great increase in interest in the use of narrative passages over the last 15 to 20 years. Edward Wimberly writes about the importance of storytelling in pastoral care. “Storytelling is not normally associated with pastoral counseling, yet for more than a decade telling stories and using metaphors in counseling has been on the rise. These stories help us learn from Jesus how to feel about ourselves, our relationships, and our ministry.”2 Narratives, especially the parables of Jesus, can be very effective in helping people who seek change in their lives. “Parabolic stories are told in such a way that the person’s view of the world is undermined and he or she is ready to accept another way of looking at things.”3 People today are attracted to stories where they can identify with one or more of the characters as they struggle with life.
How does the Bible story or character address the life issues that are common to living today? Michael Slaughter says, “Postmoderns don’t care about the Bible’s infallibility as much as its integrity and moral value. They are not looking for theological comparisons but for spiritual connection and live relevance. The 21st century communicator will act as a guide helping the postmodern seeker find the integrity of the eternal wisdom revealed in the biblical text without compromising biblical truth.”4
Preaching today promises many great opportunities for God’s grace to be applied to people seeking a God they can know and experience. This God cares for them and their real-life problems.
Source: Peterson, Bruce L. Foundations of Pastoral Care (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2007), 135-136.
1. Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 177.
2. Edward P. Wimberly, Moving from Shame to Self-worth: Preaching and Pastoral Care (Nashville: Abingdon, 1997), 14.
3. Ibid., 15.
4. Michael Slaughter, “Preaching in a Postmodern Culture,” in Pastors’ Guide to Effective Ministry (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2002), 81.