|I recently was asked to give a message to the youth group in my church. I decided to throw a few magical effects into the message in order to drive home my point. However, looking back I feel that the magic took away from the overall impact of my message. All of the focus was on the magic and not on the Biblical lesson. I was wondering how any of you would use magic in this way without all of the focus staying on the illusion when trying to move on to the lesson.|
First, let me congratulate you for examining your performance and being willing to be honest about it.
Humble men learn much, arogant ones are burdened by a life limited by what they already know.
I think that the key for making the point, and keeping the lesson first, is that it has to supercede the effect.
Simply Said, and I can't recall who said it first, the main thing is, to keep the main thing, the main thing!
You indicated that you "decided to throw a few magical effects into the message." Maybe there was too much magic?
The risk that we all face, is that the magic starts to be the message. Since I saw none of your "performance" it will be hard to get very specific. But I certainly can share some of my mistakes in the following text. Maybe you will see yourself in one of them:
I actually had to stop doing magic after I came to Christ, because I felt I was doing it to exalt myself, and not God!
I also have caught myself, letting the effect deliver the message, and expecting that folks "just got it." When I needed to adapt the message, and use the TTT rules of presentation; to Tell them what I was going to tell them, Tell Them, and then Tell them what I just told them.
I have also gotten so wrapped up in the fun of the magic (my fun, their fun, etc) that the message wasn't the most important thing, the magic was.
And I have been caught throwing in an effect that wasn't planned, just because I thought it would go here. But it hadn't been practiced enough and ended up being a distraction rather than helping.
I don't know if your issues fall in any of these areas, but think back through the performance. What was needed? What was not? Do more of what was needed, and less of what was not!
And Oh, another thing. Never go out with out a net! Pray before you even begin to do His Work. Pray about your performance and ask God for wisdom, that your next application of Magic will make the Message live forever, not the magic!
Having said all of that, if you do the magic well, even if the message is really out there, and well accepted, some will want to talk about the magic. Remind them that there is a time for everything, and the time for tricks and illusion is over (until next week) but now is the time for the message illustrated. Who knows, you may get some to come again, and even bring friends just to see the magic. But they won't get away without hearing the Word, so that is OK.
Keep at it Friend! And keep examining the results, so that you can make sure that it fills the purpose.
Thank you for your wonderful response. After reading your post I believe that my problem was, I was so pleased with the magicial effects I performed that I did seem to make the illusions more important than the message. Thank you for helping bring this to my attention. I will spend time thinking about what I could do better in order to keep the attention on Jesus rather than on myself. This will not be my last attempt at using illusions to point others to the Lord. I feel that magic is a great ice breaker and can help make the message harder to forget. With God's help I will keep trying.
In Christ's service,
Just to add to BroDavid's message.
In the manuscript, "Secrets - Entertaining ways to teach the Biblical truth" 89% of people retain what they learned through visual stimuli (seeing what they are being told.) The trick should coincide with the message, not just a message and a trick seperate.
We all know the red silk vanishing into the white silk to represent sins being washed away (forgiven) through the Holy Spirit.
Not telling a person "Your sins can be washed away through Faith and then get chained up in a pair of handcuffs and escape. This makes little sense.
For me, I don't focus on big illusions because the message gets lost. Do little tricks that help get the message across.
If you don't know the red silk, white silk, lemme know and I'll explain it better.
BroDavid's comments probably have applied to all of us at one time in our ministry.
I know I have been guilty of much of what he said. Many times I have purchased or learned a "killer effect" then tried to weave it into a Gospel presentation, with the results usually being that the trick overshadowed the message.
The solution I found was to let the Holy Spirit do His work within me, and as BroDavid so graphically put it - never work without a net of prayer.
I have also found that it is not necessary for every routine to have a Gospel message. If I am performing for a group that does not know me, I will often open with a real strong effect with no message. This establishes me as a polished and proficient performer and gives me credability as a magician. Then I will begin with "message routines" and will sometimes break it up with a non-message effect.
Of course the final routine should be the strongest message effect, usually a salvation message ending with a call to receive Christ.
You are on the correct path my friend, and I encourage you to keep examining yourself, your performance. If at the end of your performance you can say to yourself that God received the glory today, not me, then you have done His will and done it well.
Blessings to you,
These helps are Great, I do Childrens church, and had a trick that fit in with the illustration I was using perfectly.
I just knew the kids would remember the lesson I was trying to get across, forever.
I usually ask reinforcing questions at the end of the lesson, and found out that the
trick so overwhelmed the lesson, that the
kids didn't even remember it at the end of
You are right the magic is to focus
attention on the lesson/sermon. It was a
hard lesson to learn, but I think I've got it now, your suggestions will be a great