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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

How to Brainstorm Sermon Illustrations with ChatGPT

Have you ever been mid-sermon, scanning the expectant faces of your congregation, and wished for a fresh illustration that could light up their understanding like a sky full of fireworks?


Perhaps you've grappled with finding the right metaphor, story, or example that could bridge the gap between the timeless truths of Scripture and the lives they live? In over 20 years of pastoring, I've been there—believe me.


So here's what I recently did about it: I created a custom GPT that I called Sermon Illustrator. It's become a very helpful ally in my sermon preparation. Let me share how you can use this tool to find sermon illustrations that resonate.




The Ethics of Using AI In Sermon Prep

Let's get this out of the way... No, I don't think you should use AI to write your sermon. I think that would be weird and unethical. But I DO think that AI is really good at brainstorming. So that's what I'd recommend.


Here's how that looks:




How to use ChatGPT for Sermon Illustrations


Step 1: Set the Foundation with a Specific Bible Passage or Topic

Start by identifying the Bible passage or topic you want to illuminate. Sermon Illustrator thrives on specificity. It begins by analyzing the passage or topic, looking for illustrations that align perfectly with your sermon's message.


Benefit: This ensures your sermon illustrations are not just captivating but also theologically sound and relevant to your main point.


Step 2: Clarify the Desired Theme or Subtopic

Next, Sermon Illustrator prompts you for more information on the theme or subtopic you're focusing on. This step fine-tunes the search, ensuring the illustrations are spot-on.


Benefit: This refinement means you won't waste time sifting through irrelevant material. Your illustrations will be precisely what you need to underscore your sermon's theme.


Step 3: Explore a Wealth of Illustration Areas

Here's where it gets exciting. Sermon Illustrator offers illustrations from 15 distinct areas, from historical events to current news, from science to sports. For each area, you'll receive two examples of potential illustrations.


Benefit: This variety ensures you'll find the perfect illustration to connect with your audience, no matter their interests or backgrounds.


Step 4: Dive Deeper with "More Info" and Optional Visual Aids

When something piques your interest, you can request "more info" on any illustration. Sermon Illustrator then provides detailed information and sources for deeper understanding. Plus, it offers to generate an image for use in presentations or PowerPoints, enhancing the visual impact of your sermon.


Benefit: These additional details and visual aids not only enrich your sermon but also make it more engaging and memorable for your congregation.


Step 5: Implement and Reflect

Finally, incorporate the chosen illustrations into your sermon. Afterward, reflect on the impact they had. Were they effective in bringing the message home? Did they engage the congregation as you hoped?


Benefit: This reflection helps you continually improve your sermon delivery and effectiveness, making each sermon better than the last.


Conclusion: Want to Try AI Sermon Illustrations?

You do have to be a ChatGPT pro member, but outside of that, it's free. Here's the link: TRY SERMON ILLUSTRATOR


In my two decades of pastoral experience, embracing tools like Sermon Illustrator has transformed my preaching, making sermons not only easier to prepare but also more impactful. It's like having a research assistant at your fingertips.


Whether you're a seasoned pastor or just starting out, Sermon Illustrator could be the key to faster creativity and texture in your preaching ministry.

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