“That was a great message.”
“I get it now, that was super helpful.”
“I will never forget when you brought that up on stage”
I get these kinds of responses from students and leaders after a message when I use a prop.
The power of a prop can completely change the message for someone.
A prop is necessary. There are a variety of learning styles out there. The most popular styles include auditory, tactile and visual. When you speak to a group on a weekly basis and all you do is speak you are catering to a portion of the audience that connects well to the auditory learning style. What about those that are tactile and visual learners? Props are necessary for these types of learners. Recently I’ve told my middle school speakers that they need to use at least one prop in their message. I believe we are connecting more with students in this way.
A prop is memorable. I remember when I was 12 years old my pastor speaking on Matthew 7:3 – “”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” I’ll never forget when he pulled a 2×4 out from behind the pulpit and started walking around on stage speaking with it at eye-level as if it were coming out of his eye. This prop has stuck with me for 17 years. When I think about judging people, I think about the 2×4 I’m carrying around myself before I say anything. You never know how far a prop may carry into someone’s future.
A prop creates anticipation. When a student walks into a room and sees a cardboard box on stage they react, “Hmm. I wonder what that’s for?” The speaker begins his/her message and the audience knows at some point they will reference the box. The prop keeps the audience engaged and suspended in wonder of when and how the prop might be used.
Jesus used props. Who better to learn from that Jesus himself?! He knew that his audience had things around them all the time that would illustrate and reinforce the main ideas He would teach. A cup of water, a loaf of bread, a stone, a mustard seed. He took things that people completely understood to help them understand a greater truth. When we use props to reinforce what Scripture says we are teaching the way Jesus taught.
How often do you use props to illustrate your messages?
What’s one of the most memorable props you’ve seen used to illustrate a message?