Files. Files. Files.

I have an entire file drawer dedicated to sermon illustrations.

Beginning with one for “Abortion” followed by one for “Addictions” and then continuing on to places like “Grief,” “Healing,” “Methodism” (over which I have some grief and is in need of healing!), then into “Race Relations,” “Resurrection,”
and winding up at “Worship.”

I’ve been keeping such files for all 30+ years of full time ministry. Whenever I see something in the newspaper, in a magazine, through the internet, or even a snippet of a conversation, I cut it out/print it out/write it down, slip it into the file,
and VOILA! months later when I need something to bring life to a sermon subject, there it is.

Some of the files have titles from early in ministry and now I look at them and wonder, “what was I thinking?” For example: Specifically Religious (what?) and Television.

But most of them are extremely useful and help me get to that place in preparing a sermon where I have too much material rather than too little. Then I have the happy task of editing out rather than conjuring up.

Whether you keep a physical file or digital file drawer, I encourage you to create a system of your own.