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As you preach a text of Scripture, look for ways to help listeners see what it is saying.  Too often our preaching is merely propositional.  That is, we trade in truth statements.  But God knows that the truth enfleshed is what will transform us.  This is why He sent the prophets.  This is why He sent His Son.

This is not to suggest that there is somehow a different message that is “enfleshed” as opposed to “truthful”—that may be the case with some, but I certainly don’t advocate that.  What I am suggesting is that verbal constructs will often pass by the listeners without really registering.  Take that same truth and help people to see it in action.

This can be in historical action—i.e. the world of the text.  Tell a story so it can be seen on the internal screen of the heart.  Preach a poem so the visual imagery is powerfully presented.  Present a discourse passage in the narratival tension of its original occasion.

Also this can be done in applicational color.  That is, help people to see in vivid everyday terms how this passage’s truth will look when it is worked out in daily life and experience.  This doesn’t require to-do lists, but it does require vivid description.

I’m convinced that one of the key ingredients for effective preaching is effective and vivid description.  Practice it.  Learn it.  Dip into the descriptive communication of effective preachers, or storytellers, or novels.  Do what it takes to better engage your own imagination, and then the imagination of your listeners.  Truthful preaching is vitally important.  Truthful preaching enfleshed in vivid description is massively powerful.

Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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Chaplain Shawn Kennedy

commented on May 17, 2011

One of the best descriptions would be to define "enfleshed". Not in Webster's.

Richard L. Brown

commented on Jan 4, 2017

Peter, What good advise! Doctors practice medicine, lawyers practice law, and ministers should practice ministry. We should always be improving our skills. Improving in all areas of our ministry, including Biblical knowledge, relational skills, and communicational skills.

Stephen Kingsley

commented on Apr 13, 2018

One of the all time great preaching story-tellers is Chris Brown of Bayside. I'm sure this is what Mead has in mind, but I'm not sure how to pull it off as well as this. Amazing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn1kV18XU9I

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