My church planting class recently had dinner with Tim Lucas, who is the lead pastor of liquid church in Morristown, NJ. The church is six years old, and draws about 800 people to three services on Sunday. Their worship is contemporary, and use lots of art and media to communicate their message.
One of the big ways they communicate is through story, particularly through the medium of video. Tim shared with us that he loved to tell stories about people's lives and the transformation that they find in Jesus Christ...or even telling those stories even if they aren't quite there yet. He explained a video that was going to air on Sunday about a couple and the husband's hesitations about coming to church...not just any church, but liquid church in particular. He told us that the video started out just that way, and that that moment was the hook - the crucial moment - of the whole story.
I was thinking that in seminary, at best we are taught to be story-tellers (but only story-tellers through speaking...if we're lucky, we get to be story-tellers through dance and drama. Art lags behind...as does music and film and worship). However, we're not taught to look for stories, to have that mindset, and to "catch" them in the right way. We aren't taught to have that sort of outlook where the story lies in the messiness of things and not the perfect portrait.
Perhaps this is just an issue for me; I don't consider myself to be a story-teller (though I'd love to learn a few techniques).
Anyway, now I'm just procrastinating from doing my classwork. I'll post my reflections on preaching later on...