In the movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson plays the role of Colonel Nathan Jessup. While on a witness stand, he asks a Navy lawyer, played by Tom Cruise, a question about intellectual comprehension: “Are we clear?”
Cruise responds, “Yes.”
Nicholson shouts the question again, “Are we clear?”
In one of those classic Hollywood moments, Tom Cruise responds. “Crystal.” The point is this: Crystal clear communication translates into crystal clear comprehension.
Many people say they come to Christ Fellowship specifically because the multisensory style of communication makes information clear—crystal clear. The verbal, visual, and interactive teaching adds up to better comprehension for them. All three teaching pastors—Eric Geiger, Tony Isaacs, and myself—teach in a multisensory form, and people continually tells us it is what they need in order to best understand the teaching.
But, once again, my question was this: Does multisensory communication really add up to higher levels of audience comprehension? I was hearing anecdotal testimonies, but could these testimonies be verified? Was it just subjective, or could it be tested and demonstrated to be objective fact?
As teachers, we must communicate in a form that is clear. Nothing is more frustrating for a church audience than sitting through a sermon they don’t understand. If you leave them in the fog too many times, they will not return. Moreover, if the audience fails to comprehend the message we teach, it will be impossible for them to be “doers of the Word” we teach.
In other words, audience comprehension demands teacher clarity. If multisensory communication can make our communication clearer, then common sense says we must consider its usage.
Rick Blackwood, The Power of Multi-Sensory Preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 26–27.
Resources to help you be more multi-sensory:
Teachers: check out my video preview of the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lessons at http://www.sundayschooluniversity.com/
Preachers: check out my new website http://stickysermon.com/ It is a work in progress, but here is what you can expect to find. Each sermon will include:
- A PowerPoint—most of them with embedded videos that make the point stick
- A 15 minute coaching video where I talk to you the preacher about what I have in mind for the message, and go over any visual aids I might use.
- A Good Question Bible Study Lesson to be used by your small groups to further reinforce the message. The same power that was at work in the Purpose Driven Life Campaign will be at work in each week’s message.