Of all the various resources available to pastors, one genre is slowly disappearing: illustration books. Today, most pastors can download a good story from the internet, leaving the books looking out-of-date before they are even published.Still, there’s nothing like a good illustration to bring a concept to life.
Several years ago, a group of customers in our local Christian bookstore propelled the book Classic Christianity to the top of our sales chart for the year. Bob George obviously knows the power of a good illustration, and also has many at his fignertips; he derived much of his material from his years as a Christian radio talk show host. (Published by Harvest House, Bob is not related to Elizabeth George, whose books are also published there.)
But one of the best stories — I’ll take the time to type it out in full over the next few weeks — concerns a real life encounter he had with a man who couldn’t break the cycle of alcohol addiction. The best illustrations aren’t borrowed but derived from real life.
Traditionally, the Christian bookstore market has been the reverse of the general market stores: When they were selling 80% frontlist (new releases) and 20% backlist; the Christian stores often were doing 20% frontlist and 80% backlist. That’s partly because we have a timeless message that never goes out of style. While a lot of bloggers like to review new, hot titles; I think it’s important to mine the gold that exists already. In fact, I wish there were a greater number of sources for reviews of books from previous years. Classic Christianity is truly a classic.