In his new book Faithful Preaching (B&H), Tony Merida offers some tips on using illustrations, including this: “Know how to tell a good story. It is one thing to find a great story, but it is another to share it effectively and concisely in the sermon. Illustrative stories should include characters, descriptive details, conflict, movement, suspense and a climax.
“After sharing the story, relate it to the rest of the sermon smoothly. Avoid the awkward disconnect between the illustration and the next functional element. I often write out a clear sentence that I will say after using an illustration, in order to establish the relevance of the illustration.
“Bryan Chapell uses a helpful image called expositional rain to describe the process of maintaining a tight connection between the illustration and the explanation, by echoing the same terminology within the functional elements. (See Chapell’s Using Illustrations to Preach with Power.) Verbal cues will help the listeners follow along and benefit from the illustration.”