3 Stages of Movie Making for Preachers

Over the last three years, I’ve written several posts on preaching, including: StoryMapping, One-Point Preaching (two of the most popular links on the blog), It Takes 20 Years to Make a Sermon, The Role of Preaching, The Preaching Challenge, The Preaching Process, 5 Stages of Sermon Preparation, and What is Preaching?.

Five years ago, I transitioned from multiple-point preaching to one-point preaching (thanks to the book by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones, Communicating for a Change). That is the best transition I’ve ever made in ministry, so far.

One area that I (always) want to improve is sermon preparation. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the metaphor of movie making could improve my preaching.

I’m no movie-making expert, but I think there are some general phases that could help me prepare better sermons (incidentally, I suppose writing novels would be a similar approach) …

Storyboarding. Develop the big idea, map out the storyline, and sketch out the scenes.

Producing. In making movies, I think of producing as everything from casting characters to shooting the scenes that will make up the movie. It’s about gathering those elements that will bring the story to life and communicate the message as well as possible.

Editing. This is the post-production phase. After the scenes are shot and the actors go on to the next project, editors cut out unnecessary scenes and rearrange material to produce the best final product possible. This is the area many communicators neglect; however, it’s arguably the most important!

After all the work, then, it’s time for “the premier” (in preaching, Sunday comes around every seven days, ready or not!).

I like this metaphor because it helps me think in terms of “scenes” (rather than traditional outlines complete with Roman numerals, main points, and sub-points, which I gave up ages ago anyway). It also helps me to “see” the message by asking how a movie maker might communicate a particular text/story for “viewers.”

Question: What else could preachers/communicators learn from movie making?

Add a Comment