I mentioned speaking to the teaching team at Prestonwood last week in an earlier blog. Something I said to them and I say at every conference I speak at, is to not be afraid of having your screens go to black and then say something like, “Close your eyes and listen as I read this story.” or “Close your eyes and listen as I read this passage of Scripture.” I think most communicators underestimate the power of the imagination. Want to improve your effectiveness as a communicator? Paint a picture with your words.
Here are some quotes that I share in my communication/preaching seminars:
- “We can apply this understanding to our own creative efforts at many levels. On the most superficial level, we learn from the prophets that the tools best suited for communicating to the imagination are image, parables and sometimes even bizarre activity! At a deeper level, we learn that if we are to effect permanent change in peopleâ€™s hearts, we must do more than simply teach them facts or reduce them to some emotional experience. Like the prophets, we must learn to reach out to the heart as well as the mind by speaking to the imagination. We must allow our audience the freedom to make realizations on their own, as with the parables of the prophets, particularly the prophet Jesus!â€â€“ Michael Card, Scribbling in the Sand
â€œCreativity is part of Godâ€™s divine nature, and He has given it to us as a gift. Like so many of Godâ€™s gifts, creativity is often neglected or wrongfully usedâ€¦Imagination is the first storytelling tool. To properly tell a story, you must see it in your mind.â€
â€“ John Walsh, author of The Art of Storytelling
â€œOur imaginations are involved in every area of our lives, in everything we do or say or are. It is no wonder that God is so intent upon recapturing them. Therefore, we must seek to understand the imagination biblically, that is, Christ-centeredly. The imagination is the bridge between the heart and the mind, integrating both, allowing us to think/understand with our hearts and feel/emote with our minds. It is a vehicle for truth. Through the use of images, metaphors, stories and paradoxes that demand our attention, it calls for our interaction. The imagination is a powerful means for communicating truths about God, and so God shows an awesome regard for the imagination in His Word. Because we are called to creativity, a working, gut-level understanding of the imagination is vital. It can be our greatest strength or our greatest weakness. To harness the imagination, or better yet, to bring it under submission to Christ is something about which we donâ€™t talk or pray or do enough. â€“ Michael Card, Scribbling in the Sand
â€œFrequently, creativity and imaginativeness are casualties of ministerial education. Ministers start to mistrust or ignore their own creative impulses; they come to view imagination as a childâ€™s play toy rather than an essential tool for vibrant communication.â€ â€“ David Enyart