Essential Trouble in Narrative Preaching

Subject: Religion
Pages: 2
Words: 450
Reading time:
2 min

Preaching might seem to be a rather flexible concept to a side observer, yet, in fact, it needs to be structured accordingly to make the intended impression and stir emotions in the audience. Therefore, several key elements of the narrative preaching need to be identified in order to make the process more coherent and ensure that the audience responds to it emotionally. According to Boone, trouble is one of the cornerstone aspects of preaching, which is an understandable yet also debatable sentiment. In Boone’s interpretation, the notion of trouble implies the presence of a conflict that a Christian leader has to address in the sermon and that must be provided with an appropriate resolution at the end. Therefore, trouble shapes a sermon by adding urgency to its purpose, providing a clear and relatable example, and outlining the need for improvement.

As a concept, trouble helps to introduce extra poignancy and a new moral dimension to a sermon, encouraging people to reconsider their behaviors and follow Christian values closer. However, due to the harsh effect that it produces, trouble does not necessarily have to be included in every sermon produced. Deconstructing the concept of trouble in a sermon, one will notice that, apart from the sense of urgency, it also creates quite an unsettling idea of vulnerability as a characteristic of the community. When used with caution, the specified effect allows making the described feeling temporary, which makes the change made by community members to improve the situation all the more rewarding. However, once the notion of trouble is injected into every sermon, the sense of threat and insecurity becomes ubiquitous, preventing believers from exploring their spirituality and devoting their time to spiritual development.

In addition, making the idea of trouble as a narrative structure for a sermon a necessary element will inevitably make the text of the sermon detached from the lives of its audience. Since the presence of trouble implies introducing a specific example, a Christian leader has to make an especially strong effort to make it relatable. However, due to the high rates of diversity in the modern Christian community, the chance that the narration will resonate emotionally with every audience member is rather low. While some leaders, such as Daniels, manage to introduce the narrative to which all audiences can respond emotionally, others may fail to do so. Thus, although Daniels’ sermon contributes to the argument concerning the necessity of trouble as a sermon element, it also emphasizes the necessity for a leader to have a specific set of qualities to make the narrative work. Therefore, a Christian leader must balance out the concept of trouble carefully.