Teaching Tip 352 | “Plain Speaking – Illustrations make a sermon memorable” | Malcolm Cox


Here is your 2-minute tip based on chapter 2 of the book, “Plain speaking: How to preach and teach effectively” by David Bercot. 

Illustrations are important for three reasons according to Bercot:

  1. They help your listeners to understand – they gave your listeners an ‘a-ha!’ moment. 
  2. They engage your listeners – it’s like adding flavouring to a meal. Chilli, salt, pepper…..
  3. They aid your hearers to remember what you said – illustrations linger long in the memory after the facts have been forgotten and link the facts back to your mind. I still remember illustrations I heard used nearly 40 years ago. DA, 84/85 -Rom 12.1, living sacrifice – “The trouble with living sacrifices is that they tend to squirm off the altar.”

Did Jesus use illustrations? Did he ever! He employed illustrations from contemporary events, nature, story (parable), kinetic aids such as small children and much more. 

One final tip: Illustrations from books and contemporary news sources are fine, but the best illustrations are almost always personal.


Which of the illustrations that Jesus used do you connect with the most?

Why do you think illustrations are so powerful?

Do you find the use of illustrations easy or hard, and why?

Has today’s tip been worth two minutes of your time? I hope so.

Next week: organising and sculpturing your material

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Remember to keep calm, and carry on teaching.

God bless, Malcolm