21 December, 2008

From the Archive: Pastor Struggles with "Terrible Sermon Illustrations"

Note: I thought that during this time of hiatus that I'd go back and pick out some of my old favorites. These posts are not necessarily ones that were the most popular when they were originally posted, but they were ones that I liked doing.

ST. PETERSBURG, MARYLAND

The Reverend Steve Roman has been the pastor
of First Baptist Church St. Petersburg for almost ten years. While loved by his congregation for his charm, whit and devotion to his people, Roman has begun to struggle over the past few years with an inability to come up with sermon illustrations that remotely make sense.

"It all began about four years ago." Said Roman. "I'm not sure what happened, but suddenly I just couldn't come up with a sermon illustration anymore that was clear. It was as if I used up all my good ones during my first six years of ministry and just ran out of stories to tell. It seems that no matter how hard I try anymore everyone is just baffled by the point I'm trying to make."

In a recent sermon delivered by Roman on Joshua 6 and the defeat of Jericho by Israel, he stated,

"The fall of the walls of Jericho was like when you're eating a bag of chips on your couch. You're relaxed and calm, you're looking for the remote, and you don't want to be disturbed, and suddenly the dog just jumps into your lap or the phone rings and you have to get up. It bothers you because it shakes up your relaxation. And when Jericho's walls fell it really shook the wicked people of that city off of their couches. We really need to be shaking people's couches."

"I just can't seem to get my illustration sense back." Said Roman. "When I'm up there in the pulpit what I'm saying seems to make sense, but then after I say it I can see the utter confusion on everyone's faces. When I go back and listen to the recordings I just ask myself 'What were you thinking?'"

Unfortunately, the problem has extended beyond Roman's illustrations to his analogies also. Some recent excerpts from his sermons revealed the following comparisons,

"The flood came upon the land like a bucket of bloated whale blubber."
"The wickedness of Ahab was worse than all the cars in China."
"David looked upon Bathsheba with lust, like a cat in a hail storm."
"Noah's Ark was huge, like a big boat."


"We so want to support him." Said member Amber Lee. "We love him, and we know he means well, but I honestly haven't understood a single one of his sermons for months now. I don't know if he can read some books or something to get better, but something needs to be done."

In an effort to hopefully remedy the situation Roman plans to take a three month sabbatical this summer to spend time coming up with some new illustrations.

"I've just lost my touch, and I need to get it back." Said Roman. "Hopefully this summer I'll be able to get some thoughts organized, possible have some funny things happen to me so that I'll be able to communicate with my people again. Being this way is like falling out of a tree while eating an apple."

5 comments:

Andrew said...

well, you know what they always say:

"you can lead a dead horse to water, but you can't beat him."

Brother Slawson said...

Heyyyyy... Was this a slam on my last post???

fresnel said...

Rev'rnd Steve, brother, we're all with you. Ah mean that, 'cause I too have suffered with what you're a suff'rn with. They was uh tiem ah was all cornflicticated t' the point folks ud jus scratch theyselves plum cornfused. Ah'd say th'most amazing nonsensicals liek, "Well if'n tha don't shore beat 'em all to Corntucky an past yondr whep!" Well, ah get to noticin' all the scratchin' goin'on round about meh an' realized I needed to whup mahsef up side the head. So ah done it! It set me t' rights straight away (wunce ah woke up uh cource!

An now ah am happy t' nounce t' you ah have the solution what put me right an' it gonna do the same f'r you! Hea it come:

You get yo'sef a baseball bat an' go down t' the stadium. Then you take yo bat up to the tippy top uh the toppest place you can get to. It gotta have stairs goin' all the way from way up theyah on down to the grass if a'tall poss'ble. Then you get all lined up on them thar stairs up top, you stand the bat before you, and you put yo fo'head on top uh the bat. Then you start walkin' round that bat as fas' as yo legs'll let you. P'r'ty soon, you gonna get to dizzin' yo se'f. That's good! You justa keep on uh running 'round that bat with yo fo'head on the tip of it.

Well, next thing you know, you gonna be a flyin' an' a tumblin' an' parts uh you goin' ever'which way kinda slow motionlike an' all of it hurtin' some amazin! Don't let that shy you. Just go on a fallin' and ah find ah good 'mount ah yellin' 'long the way is good f'r the soul.

Anyway, you gonna wake up under clean sheets among friends an' you ain't never gonna be tempted to take the cure twice 'cause you'll be cured already forever!

Like ah said, 'til ah took the cure, ah used t' be hard t' un'erstand, but not any mo!

Andrew said...

No slam, Bro...
It's just like having caterpillars on your Sunday pants.

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