Meet Craig Brian Larson

Just a snippet from the life of Craig Brian Larson makes it easy to understand why he’s the author of such beneficial books as Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers; Preaching That Connects; and Hang in the Better End.

"In June of 1979, I became pastor of a small church in the inner city of Chicago," explains Craig in Hang in There. "Twenty-five of us met on Sunday mornings in a leaky, crumbling, seventy-five-year-old building. The weekly offerings averaged three hundred dollars, from which we paid expenses and my full-time salary. We suffered none of the temptations of prosperity...And then there was the oversized challenge of developing a productive church."

During this time, Craig drove an old Chevrolet Malibu that collected four inches of water inside when it rained. He lived with his wife and children in a cramped apartment situated next to a factory chimney that spouted an overwhelming toxic odor. Domestic violence was common among the tenants in his apartment building, which was destined for fire or some other disaster due to a slew of code violations. Life was not a pretty picture.

"Sometimes I wavered," Craig continues. "There were despairing times when I wanted to resign, but the Lord kept us in place." The Lord also rewarded him for his faithfulness, blessing his church with a growing attendance and an effective outreach ministry.

Craig realized he learned a priceless lesson in perseverance during that difficult time. He grew to understand that actual life experience is often the best character-builder, so he later used such occurrences to help others in books like Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers.

Through a varied collection of newspaper, magazine, and book excerpts, Contemporary Illustrations offers practical, experientially acquired insight on a wide range of topics, from forgiveness and family to worry and work. Similarly, Preaching That Connects helps ministers apply journalistic principles and illustrations to strengthen their sermons with relevance and power. And Hang in the Better End uses the remarkable stories of people (including Craig) who’ve been through the fire of hardships...and came out refined.

His recent books are: Choice Contemporary Stories for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers, featuring 250 modern anecdotes; Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, & Writers, featuring stories that appeared in magazines and newspapers in the 1980s and 1990s; 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, & Writers, a 3-in-1 volume containing Contemporary Illustrations and Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, & Writers and Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching from Leadership Journal. In his upcoming book, Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching - Volume 1: 101 Clips to Show or Tell (written with Andrew Zahn), Larson explores popular movies with an eye for use in sermon illustrations.

Craig Brian Larson is still a pastor in Chicago today. He is also a contributing editor of Leadership Journal and a freelance writer and speaker.

Updated June 2003.

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