It is so important that our children discover the truths conveyed in simple Bible stories. But if we bore them to tears, they won’t hear us or the message in those stories. We must grab their attention and convey the message effectively if we want them to grasp the truths in God’s Word.
Hold everything! I know how busy life can be these days. Maybe you’ve asked, “With so much to do every day, is adding visuals to my class really necessary?” I would have to answer with an absolute, “Yes.” They are necessary. Visuals play a vital role in impacting your audience.” If you want to make Bible stories come alive, then you need to use visuals.
God used visuals all through the Bible to illustrate a lesson. Jesus used visuals when he spoke to farmers about seeds or spoke about the lost coin or when He asked the woman at the well for a drink of water. I believe Jesus was a master teacher and He established a pattern for modern teachers to use when He used visuals.
Visuals help us understand. In the parable of the sower, Jesus used four types of soil to explain the kingdom of God to His disciples. In the parable of the lost coin and lost sheep, Jesus used the coin and the sheep to demonstrate the value of a lost soul. Brain research has proven that your brain loses 90% of everything you do not understand. When people leave our classrooms without understanding the message we have presented, their brain loses 90% of that information. That makes teaching for understanding essential! Good visuals will certainly lead to comprehension and as the old adage says, “A picture is worth a thousand words”!
Visuals aid in memory retention by using one more of the five senses. Learning is a multi-sensory process. Kinetic learners need to touch and feel in the learning process, while visual learners need to see it to understand. Involve as many of the senses as you can in the learning process. When studying about the Promise Land of the Old Testament bring in a pomegranate for the class to taste. Make a pair of binoculars for children to use as they go spying out the land with Caleb & Joshua. You might want to bring a small rowboat or canoe into the class and have the class sit in the boat to hear the story. Add sound effects from commercial sources or have the children make them live. Think outside the box, “What can your class hear, taste, feel or see that will enhance the learning experience and unlock their understanding?
Visuals will add variety to your class. Wouldn’t meal time be boring if you ate exactly the same food day after day. Even if it was your favorite food, it wouldn’t take long for you to tire of it. Variety is the spice of life. Add variety and spice to your class with good visuals. Use Bible Story flannel graphs, black light stories, or story bags. Use the unexpected for humor. Use the gigantic for effect. Almost anything, (in good taste of course), can be used as a visual for your class.
Start preparing for your class early. As soon as you complete one lesson look at the next lesson. Begin to pray and think… “What can I use to help them understand this lesson?” You’ll find visuals in the yard, in the kitchen cabinet and in the garage. You might need to get started with a good object lesson book to jump start your creativity.
When using any visual ask yourself these questions. Is the visual large enough to be seen? If it is too small, can you make a transparency or a picture of it? Is the object something that can be passed around the room? Is it attractive? Is it interesting? Does it really reinforce the message or is it just a cool visual that you want to use? Does the visual take away from the message? Is it appropriate for this particular audience?
Visuals really work! Before your next class, find a great visual and then notice the look of understanding on their faces as you are teaching. Those looks are priceless!
(Pictured is Ella is modeling the sword of the Spirit, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and has shod her feet with the preparation of the gospel. She also happens to be holding Gideon’s torch, too!
Some of this information was adapted from: letusteachkids.com