The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University


The Importance of Life “On the Way”

"The medium is the message." Fifty years ago, Marshall McLuhan succeeded in bringing the insights of communication theory into popular culture with this dictum. The insight it expresses concerns the value and importance of the means we use - the medium - in communication. It challenges the popular notion that what is important in communication is what you have to say, not how you say it. It alerts us to significance of how we communicate as well as what we communicate.

What is true about communication is also true about other things. We may casually assume that what we are trying to do is the important thing, while the question of how we do it is only a pragmatic decision. What works? What will help us accomplish the outcome that really matters?

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The Family Communication Project


The Family Communication Project comes from and moves toward a vision of holistic family based youth ministry. It would be inadequate to simply describe a project or activity without explaining the understanding and vision behind it. The following paper begins with an understanding of the need for holistic family based youth ministry, followed by the rationale for the project, and finally an explanation of the project itself. Included in this paper are some of the necessary materials for the project to be effective. The Family Communication Project is designed to be flexible and adaptable to every community situation. Therefore the explanation of the project below could simply be considered as a guideline or an explanation of what an actual project that a church would implement might look like.

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An Exercise in Narrative Preaching


Reaching a contemporary audience is an increasingly difficult challenge. We are forced to find ways to make our preaching relevant and engaging. One of the interesting contemporary preaching models is called narrative preaching.  Narrative preaching has different traits than expository or propositional preaching.  They include:

  •  The preacher taking an imaginative stance before the text
  • The thesis of the sermon being delayed until the middle or the end
  • Moments of strategic confusion leading to the resolve at the end

Some preachers might struggle in preaching a narrative sermon because it doesn't have a formulaic skeleton. Narrative preaching doesn't have an opening illustration, three points, and a conclusion.  In fact, the illustrations become the points themselves and the listener is left to fill in the blanks and take away their message without being told what to take away.

Narrative texts are prime candidates for narrative preaching. The story of Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus is a good example. John 3 is a wonderful story that doesn't really have an immediate resolve.  We don't know if Nicodemus accepted the words of Jesus and changed his life, or if he is back to his old ways until we reach the end of John's Gospel (19:39-40).  The story found in John 3 invites us into the conversation, coming to our own personal conclusions to the story. What follows is an example of approaching this text in a narrative way.

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