Using the Stereopticon to Advantage
The success of any evangelist is influenced materially by his ability to impress his audience with the importance of the message he is presenting. He should therefore give careful consideration to methods that will aid him in making the impression emphatic. In the purely oral form of presentation the impression is made chiefly through the sense of hearing, and many men have outstanding ability in using this medium.
Some men possess talents that others lack,— a good speaking voice, a persuasive manner, a pleasing personality. These all help to arrest and hold the favorable attention of those who hear. But there are workers, earnest and faithful, who are deficient in these qualities. Therefore it is not wise for all to try to follow any stereotyped method of presenting the message. Every worker must not only study his subject and his audience, but must also give attention to methods of presentation. And since it is a recognized fact that what is seen makes a stronger impression on the mind than what is heard, it follows that the use of proper illustrations is one of the outstanding methods of teaching truth. Millions of dollars are spent on illustrations in magazines, billboards, newspapers, etc., to convey the impression it is desired to present. Surely with the message we have for the world, we should use every legitimate method to present the thought in the clearest possible way.
In connection with evangelistic efforts, I have found the "dissolving" type of stereopticon picture an effective method of illustration. It produces a pleasing effect; and if properly handled, beautiful and lasting impressions are made. I have been careful to select only the best slides obtainable, and to refrain from using anything that does not have a direct bearing on the subject. One or two beautifully colored slides, thrown on the screen at the right time, will make a deeper impression than a larger number used simply to "fill in."
Personally, I like to see the people to whom I am speaking. Therefore the electric wiring is arranged with the control switch for the lights conveniently placed in the pulpit, with a signal that can be easily given and noiselessly operated. Thus, at will, the speaker can cause a light to appear in the operator's booth. With this arrangement, I speak with the lights on. When I wish to throw a picture on the screen, the signal is flashed to the operator in time for him to prepare for the next slide. At the instant I desire the illustration, the lights are turned off, and the picture is before the eyes of the audience. The impression is made, and the lights are again turned on. This has a stimulating effect, and helps to keep the people alert, and their minds fixed on the subject. It also gives the speaker an opportunity to see the effect produced on his hearers.
By throwing the songs on the screen, we have also eliminated the cost of song books from the expense of the evening lectures.
As much care should be exercised in the use of the stereopticon as is given to the preparation of the lecture. Since the production of an impressive dissolving effect requires careful attention on the part of the operator as well as some taste for the beautiful, special attention should be given to the choice of this helper. We should always avoid whatever will in any way detract from the dignity of our work and the message we represent.
With all the preparation and equipment to make the lecture stand out clear and plain, we should never overlook the fact that genuine success depends on our personal relation to our Maker, and the presence of the Spirit of God to convict and win our hearers.
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