Picture Sermons

For a few years, some time ago, I presented many of my sermons in picture form.

These were not great works of art, but rather rough and ready pictures made as I resopondeed to the text (almost always the Gospel). This enabled me to preach with just notes rather than a fully written sermon, and it also enabled church members to have their say at the end.

It all began when I was trying to imagine how it must have been for the shepherds, out on the hills and suddenly surrounded by hosts of singing angels. I made myself a picture to try and capture the scene – the smallness of the shepherds out on the hills, the vast night sky, full of stars – and the angels.  This was a small picture – A4 landscape. I referred to it in my sermon.

I found this a good way to medidate on the text and to order my thoughts and started preparing my sermons in this way more often, and referring to the pictures whilst preaching. Eventually people started to ask me to let them see the pictures, which I did. They were too small for people to see clearly though, so I started making them much bigger – A1 or bigger – using poster roll. I always began with the border, chosing the colour of the season or that ‘set the scene’. I used collage materials, paint, and glitter (now forbidden on environmental grounds).

This method of rpeaching worked well here, and people responded well to having something visual to look at – we live in a culture where images are important and a major means of communication. I stopped doing these sermon pictures when we developed an all-age Messy Sermon Group – those who prefer to learn visually and in a ‘hands on’ way now have a group created especially for them.

I’ll be posting some of these picture sermons from time to time as I find them in the depths of my computer and pair pictures with notes.

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