The Preacher as Bard

The God-Hungry ImaginationHere is a great paragraph that inspired me from The God Hungry Imagination by Sarah Arthur.

As Christian preachers and teachers . . . we must always remember that we're not meant to be journalists, merely relaying the facts; we're meant to be bards, speech-weavers, spinning a spell that captures the imagination. Yes, the gospel is the "good news" . . . but it is just as importantly the "good spell," a Word that has the power to capture and transform the human imagination.

Whether it is C.S. Lewis (the quintessential imaginative weaver of stories)
or Walter Bruggemann (the towering preacher, poet, prophet of the Old Testament)
or Garrison Keillor (narrator of the always delightful Lake Wobegon stories)
or Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz - will you ever forget that book title?) 
or Jesus Himself who taught those wondrous parables and had a never-ending reservoir of metaphors . . .

imagination is central to their very way of communication. And not just preachers or teachers, but all called to leadership. At the core of leadership is the task of communication. The best communication inspires, moves, illumines and instructs using the imagination.

We are never just giving the facts. We are the bards (singers of grand stories) and word smiths who find creative, fresh, stirring ways of speaking truth in love, power and mystery. 

Whoever Tells the Best Story WinsWe now live in a cultural era (and probably have always lived in such an era) where the one who tells the best story wins. Christianity may have the absolutely best story, but if we never learn how to tell that story in a way that beckons, woos and intrigues the imagination - that story will fade and fail.

This is not even slightly a diminishment of TRUTH and its importance... It is the question of how to most powerfully, convincingly and lovingly communicate the greatest story every told, the virtually unimaginable story.

Every now and then I find books that are really useful toward that end. Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, is one of the absolute best in learning how to be a good story teller.  

The God Hungry Imagination - designed for those who communicate to teens - is one of those books that all communicators will find as a wise mentor in the art of imagination and story-weaving. And if you have a good voice, maybe you can even be a bard.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

the bard