Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

The Parade Nobody Gets to Watch

In his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller describes a New Year's Day parade held in San Diego. But this was no ordinary parade. This was a very special parade organized by Bob Goff and his family—a parade where nobody was allowed to watch, because everybody was a part of it. Miller tells the story:

Bob and the kids were sitting around on New Year's Day when one of the kids mentioned she was bored. Bob agreed and said he thought New Year's Day was probably one of the more boring days of the year. He asked the kids what they could do to make New Year's Day less boring.
The kids started tossing out ideas, things like buying a pony or building a rocket ship, and then one of the children mentioned they could have a parade. Getting himself out of buying a pony, perhaps, Bob lit up and said a parade sounded great.
So Bob, [his wife], Maria, and the kids sat around the dining room table and dreamed up what their parade might look like. They could wear costumes and hold balloons, and maybe they could invite their friends to watch. The kids started talking about what kind of costumes they could make—the more elaborate, the better. And Maria began planning a cookout at the end of the parade, in their backyard, and wondered how many people she should prepare for. And the kids started running through the friends and neighbors they could call to invite and watch the parade.
Bob thought about it, though, and realized it's more fun to be in a parade than to watch one. So he made a rule: nobody would be allowed to watch the parade, but anybody could participate. So he and the kids walked down their small street and knocked on doors, explaining to neighbors that they were having a parade, and anybody who wanted could be in the parade, but nobody would be allowed to watch. [When Bob shared this story with me,] I laughed as I imagined [him] standing on their neighbor's porch, explaining that if a parade marched by, please look away. Or join. And surprisingly, plenty of his neighbors agreed to take part. [They would] march down the street with Bob's kids and join the cookout in the Goffs' backyard ….
Bob and the family dressed up in their handmade costumes and walked to the end of the street, where they were joined by a few neighbors, and began marching down the street, converting all parade watchers into parade participants. And by the time they got to their backyard, they had a dozen or more people sitting around, enjoying each other's company and eating hamburgers.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Valuing the Contributions of Those Around You

Improvisation is the willingness to live within the bounds of the past and yet search for the future at the same time. Improvisation is the desire to make something new out of something ...

[Read More]

Church Is the Home of the No-cut Audition

Lillian Daniel writes in "A Cast of Thousands”:

At my daughter's elementary school musical, the printed program noted: "This musical was originally written for 15 ...

[Read More]