Narrative Theology

One thing you can say about Jesus is that he had the ability to capture his audience’s attention, in other words he was captivating. I was reading part of the gospels the other day and ran across a verse that basically said Jesus went to walk by the sea when a crowd found him, and of course, he taught them.

When was the last time you took your homies to find your pastor so he could

teach you?

I think this says something about the way we treat church. We attend on Sunday (or Saturday night) expecting to be “filled,” and when we don’t get it we say start using this spiritual talk like, “I’m just not getting fed here.”

What does that even mean?

Of course we can argue learning styles; I’m sure there were people in Jesus’ day that said things like, “I wish he would just quote scripture a little more,” or, “He would be great if he moved around a little more.” The thing is though that its the same words and ideas we here today that Jesus spoke then. Jesus developed this style of narrative theology where he took things people had known all their life, and made it fresh and new, the one characteristic that separates the good teachers from the bad.

Pastors obviously have a big task: to teach and care for a congregation while displaying the word in a very real and authentic way. Its almost like marketing. The first rule of marketing is to know your audience. How can you make something come alive for someone if you don’t know who they are? In the same way, how can you make word of God come alive for someone if you don’t know how to communicate with them? The gospel in YoungLife is very different to the seniors church.

Jesus knew his audience as he explains it when he says to the church leaders that the healthy are not the ones who need a doctor, but rather the sick, the “sin-sick” as the message says. This is not a knock on pastors, nor an attack on church goers, only the thought that in order to avoid using words like “filled” and “fed,” and preaching sermons that have no meaning to the congregation listening, we should acknowledge we are sinners and become like the crowd, eager to hear in a new way and willing to teach in the same.

[thus ends the soapbox]