The imagination is a powerful illustrator. Authors of the various books of the bible had to rely on their imagination to describe why they were seeing, feeling, hearing, etc. We too must use our imagination to present what God is telling his people. Imagination is what captivates the audience. Imagination is what makes a story good.
So we must work on our imagination. One way that I do that is writing exercises. Sometimes I gain brilliant stories and other times I flunk, but when you get in the habit of stretching your creativity you begin to find it easy to see every moment as an illustration to be used in preaching.
While in college at Belmont University, I took a creative writing class and acquired a book that I use to help build my imagination. The 4 a.m. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley has become an invaluable tool in sharpening the creative eye. Allow me to present an exercise for you to work on from this book.
NEAR DEATH. Write a fragment of fiction about a character who thinks she is dead, but is not dead. Don’t dwell on the wounds or sudden illness that might have made this person mistake life for death. Imagine what someone might think under these circumstances. Would her life flash before her eyes? Or would she focus on–even obsess over–the fact the she had not fed her dogs before she left the apartment? 750 words
Go ahead. Write your story. Don’t read another section until you are done…
…Now that you are finished with your story think of how you would incorporate your story into a sermon. Have fun with it, and remember your imagination is a horrible thing to waste.
Kiteley, Brian. The 4 A.M. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction . Cincinnati : Writer’s Digest Books, 2008