In his book The Shape of Preaching: Theory and Practice in Sermon Design (Baker), Dennis Cahill discusses various approaches to sermon design, including narrative preaching, a term he uses “to refer to a sermon whose design evidences the characteristics of story and is an exposition of a text with the attributes of story. A narrative sermon is structured as a plot (rather than an outline) and is based on a text which has a plot. When preaching on a text that is narrative (structured as a story) in form, it is most often appropriate to design a sermon that reflects the narrative form of the passage…

“The narrative sermon is story-like in its development, with a beginning, middle, and an ending. (Calvin) Miller contends that the narrative sermon does not contain stories but is a story (in its structure). Thus, like a story the narrative sermon will delay the full expression of the central idea until the end or near the end of the sermon. In that sense the narrative sermon has an overall inductive design.”

Cahill cites several strengths of narrative preaching, including faithfulness to the biblical form when we preach biblical narratives in a narrative style. He also notes that stories create interest and encourage involvement. He adds, “Narrative is also effective because we live in a storied world. Preachers compete with television and movies for people’s attention. Even the evening news is often presented in a story form. So narrative is an important biblical tool for communicating to a contemporary culture.”

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