Communication Sermon Illustrations

Communication Sermon Illustrations

You and I broadcast every day, not knowing how many receivers we reach.


Communication is a process of sharing experience till it becomes a common possession. It modifies the disposition of both parties who partake in it.—John Dewey


As one enlarges his capacity to make himself understood, he opens to that extent his opportunities for usefulness. It is an ability without which it is difficult to succeed.—Owen D. Young


When persons get out of communication with others, when they cannot freely communicate, they develop prejudices, suffer ill-health, run away and hide, or want to hit somebody. Their experiences enslave them instead of setting them free. It is interesting that therapy for the mentally ill is designed to help them learn new ways of freely associating with others. A well person can put himself in the other fellow's shoes. He can, in short, communicate with him.—Edgar Dale, The News Letter


Effective communication with the consumer of research remains a difficult problem, as Mr. Clymer indicates. Researchers develop special interests and tend to become language-bound. Fortunately, the situation in education is not quite so difficult as that reported by F. F. Colton in an article for the September, 1949, Scientific Monthly titled "Some of My Best Friends are Scientists." Mr. Colton wrote:

"A New York plumber of foreign extraction with a limited command of English wrote the National Bureau of Standards and said he found that hydrochloric acid quickly opened drainage pipes when they got dogged and asked if it was a good thing to use.

A Bureau scientist replied:

"The efficacy of hydrochloric acid is indisputable, but the corrosive residue is incompatible with metallic permanence."

The plumber wrote back thanking the Bureau for telling him the method was all right. The scientist was a little disturbed and showed the correspondence to his boss, another scientist. The latter wrote the plumber:

"We cannot assume responsibility for the production of toxic and noxious residue with hydrochloric acid and suggest you use an alternative procedure."

The plumber wrote back that he agreed with the Bureau—hydrochloric acid works fine. A top scientist—boss of the first two—broke the impasse by tearing himself loose from technical terminology and writing this letter:

"Don't use hydrochloric acid. It eats hell out of the pipes."—As quoted by Mr. Clymer


When we are understood, it is proof that we speak well; and all your learned gabble is mere nonsense.—Moliere


When two people talk to each other, a good deal of what is said is never heard Too many people forget they must compete with the inner voice of the person they're addressing. To really be understood, we must learn to handle the emotional aspects of communication.—Dr. Jesse S. Nirenberg, Sales Management


If we as communicators don't watch our P's and Q's someone will compile a glossary of communicationese, with such listings as:

2-way communications—standing in the middle of the week looking both ways for Sunday.

Feedback—vomiting unsavory or unpalatable ideas.

Committee report—a thousand words about nothing.—C.M.B., Journal of Communication


The communication is too long. Brevity is not only the soul of wit; it is also the essence of good communication. The long-winded speaker doesn't realize that his speech didn't get across. He should have quit when he was ahead, but he added more and more and more. As a short speech it would have been a dandy; as a long speech it was a bore. The poor speaker quits when he is tired. The good speaker quits just before the audience gets tired. Turn off the flow of words when their cups are full.

No one can say just how long a message should be, but you rarely hear complaints about a speech being too short. The amateur worries about what he is going to put in his speech or article. The expert worries about what he should take out. An artistic performance is concentrated, has a central focus. Lincoln spoke for less than two minutes at Gettysburg but his message still tugs at the heart.—Edgar Dale, The News Letter


The role of communication has become a popular subject in recent times and it is an important factor in dissolving impasses. The inability to communicate effectively is high on the list of causes of sustained crisis.—George Bennett, Partners


Some years ago I heard a radio authority picturing the prospects of television, frequency modulation and other features we now enjoy. Yet as I listened I could not but remember what Henry Thoreau cynically said when he learned of the laying of the Atlantic cable. His caustic comment: "Yes, it's wonderful, but probably the first news that comes over will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough." Our means of communication do sometimes seem to improve faster than what we have to say over them.—Dr. Ralph W. Sockman, Quote


Evil Communications

"Evil communications corrupt good manners" (I Cor.15:33).

Roaming in the woods, some boys found a nest containing two linnet fledglings, which they managed to capture and take home. Securing some plain, wooden birdcages, they put one of the linnets in each and hung them on either side of a canary. They explained to their mother that they hoped the linnets, being so young, would learn to imitate the canary, instead of cheeping as linnets ordinarily do. The mother smilingly questioned the likelihood of the plan succeeding.

The next day the boys entered the room, and exclaimed, "Mother, come here, our canary is cheeping like a linnet!"

And so it was. The canary had to be separated from the wild birds of the wood and kept under cover for a time before he regained his song. Surely there is a lesson here for all Christians. Fellowship with the world does not lead the godless to take the way of the Lord, but generally results in the believer losing his joyous song and taking on the speech and manners of the world.

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