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Illustrations and Their Benefits

Last time, I wrote about the necessity of using illustrations in our sermons. You can read that post here. Today, I want to talk about the benefits of using illustrations. The first one will be obvious, but the others you may not have thought about.

Benefits

(1) Illustrations help the audience understand the theological point

Through stories, listeners are able to come to a deeper more full understanding of the theological point because we learn best when the abstract is made concrete.

(2) Illustrations connect the preacher to the audience in a way pure exposition cannot

The preacher connects and bonds with the audience because his personal perspectives are revealed through the stories he chooses to use as his illustrations.

(3) Illustrations reveal the character of the preacher

Behind every illustration, the personal story of the preacher lies. Bryan Chapell says, “Your own personal story always shimmers in the background of any story you tell, witnessing to your own character, principles, and priorities.[1] In essence you are saying, “This is what I think this means in my world.” [2]

(4) Illustrations reveal your personal trustworthiness

Depending on the illustration you select your congregation will determine if you are trustworthy. If you select an illustration that holds out ideals or expectations one cannot hope to attain, then your audience will lose trust in your judgment. On the other hand, when you select illustrations that apply directly to the context of your audience and which contain ideals and expectations that are attainable, the audiences’ trust in your judgments grow.

(5) Illustrations have the power to reveal your personal integrity

If you consistently give credit where credit is due, not using others stories as your own, and give proper facts, then your personal integrity will grow. A preacher who consistently and knowingly passes stories off as his own, when they are not, proves he has an integrity issue.

(6) Illustrations help the audience see “themselves in the contexts of Scripture’s realities” [3]

When the audience hears of someone facing the same struggles they are, they realize they are not living in isolation. They also realize there is an answer to their problem that exists in Scripture.

Resource

[1] Bryan Chapell, Using Illustrations to Preach with Power, 133.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.,136

Image: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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