Illustrating: Workshops: Adapting Illustrations for Your Use
How can I help hearers understand abstract biblical truths?
1. Craig Brian Larson, senior editor of Preaching Today, provides solid examples of how to personalize illustrations from others. In part one of Adapting Illustrations So They Fit You, he talks about changing the tone of a story to make it fit your personality and the personality of your audience, beefing up an illustration by adding your own imaginative (but realistic) thoughts, and salvaging a choice quote or sentence from a longer story in order to make a point concisely.
2. Larson continues his article on personalizing illustrations. In part two he provides examples of shortening an illustration, generalizing the source of a story or quote to better connect with your audience, and paraphrasing a poignant story you find. Read part two of Adapting Illustrations So They Fit You.
3. There is a fine line between a powerfully effective sermon illustration and an inaccessible or self-interested tale. Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, warns against the use of the extraordinary story or quote and the perils of excessive self-reference in Sidestepping Illustration Dangers.
4. Wayne Harvey, Director of Missions at the Santa Fe River Baptist Association, offers seven key standards by which to assess potential sermon illustrations, offering helpful examples along the way. Illustrating with Integrity and Sensitivity is a succinct and clear measuring tool.