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                                                                  Organic Preaching: Be Free and Creative!

                                                                                                           Dr. Richard Park


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What is last step of preaching method I like to teach you is Organic Preaching about which I wrote a book and published in English: Organic Homiletic: Samuel T. Coleridge, Henry G. Davis, and the New Homiletic (Peter Lang: New York, 2006). In short, what is organic preaching then? My answer is to be free and creative when you preach! Don’t imitate other sermon forms you know. It is impossible to imitate all forms already made when you preach creatively. Preachers can’t preach the same sermon. Even they are careful to use the same illustration because audience remembers. Preaching ministry is ministry of creativity. It requires a lot of energy of creativity. Preachers should preach every Sunday and more every weekdays. However they preach new! They can’t use old sermon again. How demanding job! It is not easy job for preachers who don’t have creativity power and ability. Then should they give up? No!!! Holy Spirit is a spirit of creativity. God still speaks to us every day anew!!! ANEW!!! God is doing something anew!!! Why not? God can do something new for preachers every time we preach!

Samuel Coleridge had this organic thought in his literary study. He studies why Shakespeare was so excellent writer although he even didn’t go to college. Coleridge analyzed Shakespeare’s writings and discovered that Shakespeare was organic writer. He refused to imitate ancient Greek and Roman writings and he created his own literary forms of novel and drama and poetry. German theorists like Schlegel and Shelling also had had the same organic thoughts who may have influenced Coleridge. I don’t want to make you dizzy by this complicated literary theory anymore, but it is very important to know there were great organic theorists in the history and still exist a lot.

Even German homiletic professor Bonhoeffer has the same organic thoughts:

“The text gives the sermons its form. Artificial organizational schemes and sermon forms produce pulpit orators. We don’t need model sermons; sermons that are according to the text are model sermons.”(Worldly Preaching: Lectures on Homiletics, p. 129)

This is amazing organic theory by modern homiletic teacher. Augustine also had organic thought of preaching. He taught three different styles of methods:

“It is important to know which of these styles may be combined, and which ones are applicable to particular contexts. Within the grand style an introduction should always- or almost always-be in the mixed styles, and it is open to the eloquent speaker…” (Augustine: De Doctrina Christiana, R.P.H. Green, Clarendon Press: Oxford, p.269)

This is also amazing. Augustine emphasizes “particular contexts, mixed, and open.” This is all about organic preaching. Preaching content should be new and different then preaching form also should be new and different. This is called as organic unity. Form and content can’t be separated! This may sound difficult, but just think we can be free to preach creatively. We don’t need to imitate other forms.

Then how can we do Organic Preaching then? Pay attention to what to preach first. Collect messages. Ask Holy Spirit to give you what and how. Just relax and be who you are and what you like! Do you remember I taught you in the Flower Preaching? Listen to your heart! Listen to the Spirit. Write down and scribble down whatever it comes to your mind first into one or two papers. Pray and ask what to preach! And then when you move to flower preaching, you will see your form from what you have. So this organic sermon form is opposite of all preaching methods. They talk that form first and then content but for organic preaching content is first and then form comes out of content. Do you understand? You should be able to preach this organic sermon, otherwise your preaching ministry may be burned out and later you become scavenger to copy from other sermon, steal from other preachers, wander away through internet, imitating never creating! Every Sunday would be stress for you if you are not free and creative.

Now let us practice this organic preaching. As Augustine and Henry Davis (Design for Preaching, Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 1958) said that we can mix all different sermon methods. Don’t worry to be wrong. There is no wrong method as long as you are creative. Be experimental! Be free! Be creative! Do whatever you like to do!

Be who you are! Be bold! Make something new! You are artist! Don’t imitate! Philosopher Aristotle said “creative mimesis or mimetic creation” which is that we can imitate creatively or we can create by imitation! Good luck to this bold step of creating your own styles and methods of preaching. You can mix like Korean bibimbap, popular Korean dish, with all different methods but by your creativity. Three points, topical, textual, expository, inductive, problem-solving, narrative and more can be mixed and used for your new creation of Organic Preaching!