THE VALUE OF AUDIO-VISUALS
T. PIERCE BROWN
Many years ago I wrote a workbook on teacher-training entitled WORKBOOK ON TEACH WITH SUCCESS. I was interested in using visual aids in my teacher-training classes, personal evangelism programs, and in preaching. I even designed a church building with one of its chief attractions a rear-view projector behind the pulpit.
But a few moments ago it struck me with new force (although most of us have really known it all along) that the greatest audio-visuals are not things like filmstrips, Condensed Circular Cyclopedias, flannel-graph materials and such things. These kinds of things come and go, and too much emphasis on and use of them can produce an emasculated gospel and a weakened membership. But the kind of audio-visuals of which I write today never does that, and has eternal value and relevance.
Almost two centuries ago, Jesus gave the most tremendous, useful and complete audio-visual demonstration the world has ever seen or heard. He said in John 14:9, “He hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Before Jesus, one could understand “God so loved–” primarily in the light of his own limited and sometimes warped experience. But now, because of His audio-visual demonstration, it is as clear as the brightness of the noonday sun. The audio part comes in places like Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The visual part is seen in the whole life, but climaxed in the scene of Emmanuel being nailed to the cross because of God’s love for us. Of course His whole life was an audio-visual presentation of the various attributes of God. Indeed, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory–” (John1:14). It may sound awkward to say, “The audio became visual,” but that is approximately what we mean when we say, “The Word became flesh.” Jesus began “both to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1). John admonishes us to do likewise in 1 John 3:18. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” Let your lessons on love be audio-visual!
We know that no red and green lettering on a bulletin board, or vivid picture on a screen will ever have the dramatic impact or the lasting value of our personal audio-visual presentation as the words we speak and the lives we live are the vivid pictures of the reality of Christ living in us!
When I baptized the electronic genius who was largely responsible for testing the second stage rocket to the moon, I had heard him say in our studies sometimes that something was “out of sync.” The first time I heard him, I was not sure it was “sync” or “sink.” But when our “audio” is not synchronized with our “visual” presentation, the whole picture is “out of sync.” That is one of our biggest problems. When all is said and done, not only is a lot more said than done, but a lot that is said is in conflict with that which is done. We are out of “sync.”
As important as workshops, seminars and films on church growth may be, if all who claim to be Christians would get our “audio-visuals” in “sync,” and let all the world SEE and HEAR the reality of Christianity and its values, we would see church growth as it has not been seen since New Testament days!