a great article on preaching

about the great preacher Fred Croddock was put up on the cnn website.  I enjoyed reading it and learning more about him.    I haven’t read anything of his, but I want to now!  Give it a read!

Here are a couple statements I liked:

Maybe it was the stories he heard growing up, but Craddock gradually stumbled onto his preaching style.

While serving as a young pastor at a church in Columbia, Tennessee, he noticed that people responded more to his informal talks outside church service than to his sermons.

He started experimenting. What if you didn’t structure the sermon like a legal argument but more like an extended conversation? The listener — not the preacher — would be challenged to give the sermon its meaning.

Craddock never took to preachers who tried to bulldoze people into converting. He had seen plenty of preachers try to goad his father back to church. And his mother, by withholding the story of his near-death experience, had taught him that people’s faith decisions must be genuine, not coerced.

So Craddock became a preacher who didn’t preach. He once said that a “yes” is no good unless a “no” is possible.

The the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, one of his students, says of him and his style:

He assumes from the start that we are capable of attending to the text, handling some scholarship, dealing with open-ended stories, and drawing our own conclusions. He does not tell us what he is going to tell us, and then tell us what he told us. He sits down before we are ready. He lets us chew our own food.

I think that is a good approach.  Too many want to be spoon fed and don’t want to think too hard… or maybe they do?   More seminaries need to take his approach.  Expositional preaching is good but the narrative approach of Craddock is effective too.

Let me know what you think.



One response to “a great article on preaching

  1. I have been trying to appropriate more narrative styles of preaching into my own approach over this last year. One book I found helpful was “Finding the Plot: Preaching in Narrative Style” by Roger Standing. You might appreciate some of his insights as well.

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