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6 Tips for Better Lesson Illustrations

If you run small groups as a part of your ministry, you’ll be stealing some truly great discussion from your leaders if you do them the disservice of fully dissecting your illustration.

6. Illustrations should start with Scripture, NOT your story.
This is the biggest mistake I see youth pastors make. Something funny or interesting or inconvenient happens to them, and they immediately start wondering, “How I can weave this into a message?”

But that’s totally backwards. Don’t try to figure out how you can make your awkward encounter with the mailman a part of the Bible. Start by asking yourself how you can best explain Scripture.

When you start with your own funny story, you’ll usually end up with a hilarious message that failed to really connect to or explain the truth of Scripture. Which is great if your primary goal is to be an entertainer. But it’s not great if your primary goal is communicating Truth.

What did I miss? Anything you would strike from the list?

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Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes at Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations—things like leading volunteers, managing money, and communicating effectively. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.