Perhaps the most practical mechanical subject taught ministerial students at Southern Missionary College is the course in visual aids. Visual aids—projected and nonprojected —are essential and profitable in public evangelism as proved by the continued success our evangelists are having with illustrated lectures. That this method of presenting the Advent message is God ordained is clear from such Spirit of prophecy passages as the following:
"I am pleased with the manner in which our brother [Elder S.] has used his ingenuity and tact in providing suitable illustrations for the subjects presented—representations that have a convincing power. Such methods will be used more and more in this closing work."—Evangelism, p. 205.
"You have given much study to the matter of how to make the truth interesting, and the charts you have made are in perfect accord with the work to be carried forward. These charts are object lessons to the people. You have put intensity of thought into the work of getting out these striking illustrations. And they have a marked effect as they are presented to the people in vindication of truth. The Lord uses them to impress minds. Instruction has been given me clearly and distinctly that charts should be used in the presentation of truth. And these illustrations should be made still more impressive by words showing the importance of obedience."—/bid., p. 203.
The classes in visual aids at Southern Missionary College include discussions in advertising, lettering, posters, handbills, projected visual aids, chalk talks, flannelgraph, and the construction of nonprojected visual aids. In this day of increasing sensational advertising methods, many of which we cannot follow but must compete with, a study of acceptable and profitable methods is essential to the prospective evangelist.
The church pastor can also make good use of visual aids. He often has need of signs and posters announcing special meetings, and can use miniature images and charts in doing personal work in Bible studies and cottage meetings. A neat and dignified sign alongside the road will do much to cause people to realize that Seventh-day Adventists are doing things. It will also be a great help to our own traveling workers, who might otherwise find it difficult to locate the church in an unfamiliar town.
The department of visual aids at Southern Missionary College has made available two standard, representative signs, one designed for the highway and the other to be mounted in front of the church. The highway sign is sturdily constructed of one-fourth-inch marine plywood and fine-grade poplar with a walnut finish. It has an old-ivory background with dark-green letters touched with vermilion. When mounted on two 3- or 4-inch pipes set in cement and landscaped as shown in the photograph, the highway sign is something to be proud of and is a fine advertisement for the church.
The sign for the front of the church is similarly constructed, except that it has 23-karat gold leaf lettering, and has provision for a removable name plate for the pastor.
Both these signs are easily maintained in first-class condition—a coat of high-grade marine-spar varnish applied once or twice a year is all that is needed.
The department of visual aids at this southern college is only two years old, but already it is equipped and staffed to turn out a complete line of nonprojected visual aids for our workers, and also to provide the best in all types of posters, banners, pennants, maps, bumper strips, bus cards, and so forth.
These comparatively inexpensive methods of calling the people's attention to the message for this hour have been and are being used successfully in competing with so-called sensational methods. The representations of prophetic beasts and images and charts are most effective in explaining the prophecies relating to the past, present, and future. Surely "we should seek to follow more closely the example of Christ. . . . When He came to a favorable place, He would speak to them, simplifying His discourses by the use of parables and symbols."—Ibid.