The Key to Effective Preaching

By John Greening

The preacher’s “tools of the trade” do not in themselves thoroughly and effectively communicate the Word of God. Biblical languages, history, and doctrine are little more than technical jargon if they are not wed with an often-overlooked dimension of quality preaching—imagination.

Many consider this dimension to be nothing more than child’s play, too elementary and fanciful for the highly educated clergyman. Many of the great preachers of the past, however, had quite a different opinion. Alexander Whyte referred to the imagination as “nothing less than the noblest intellectual attribute of the human mind.” In the first Yale Lectures on Preaching, Henry Ward Beecher said, “The first element on which your preaching will largely depend for power and success, you will perhaps be surprised to learn, is Imagination, which I regard as the most important of all the elements that go to make the preacher.”