Making a Mess to Prove a Point

Doug Olson —  February 7, 2011

Working at a church that takes great strides in making sure their facilities are pristine, I was often questioned when I had an object lesson that was messy. Not that I didn’t take extra time to make sure the room we used was as good or in better condition than when we started, because sometimes I even had to get out the carpet extractor and clean the carpet. I have the mind set that if it needs to be a messy object lesson to make a point with kids, the extra time to clean it was well worth the investment.

Not one to purposefully put a stick in the hornets nest, this was sometimes a hard balance in my mind. Did I really want to the building administrator after me for bringing ketchup and mustard in and squirting it on a clean white sheet? (even though there was a roll of plastic laid out to catch any stray splats) The times I used fire of any sort was always a concern to this guy. My gut instinct was to teach the kids with the methods that would have the most impact. So sometimes the stick did get put into the hornets nest with an apology and assurance of clean-up soon following the quizzical eye.

The whole point is that object lessons are very important to the transmission of God’s Word. Jesus used object lessons on many occasions to teach. I use them in my classroom nearly everyday (secular education). In order for people to more fully understand the message you are giving, you need to make a personal connection to their lives. An object can be that real connection. Sometimes, even a really messy lesson can bring home the point better than anything else. Don’t be afraid of the mess to bring God’s word to kids. Besides what boy doesn’t enjoy a good mess?

Check out these messy object lessons:
https://www.kidology.org/zones/zone_post.asp?post_id=1130
https://www.kidology.org/zones/zone_post.asp?post_id=1085
https://www.kidology.org/zones/zone_post.asp?post_id=3159
http://waldotheclown.com/object_lesson_shaving_cream.htm
http://www.kidology.org/network/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=5926
http://www.kidology.org/zones/zone_post.asp?post_id=2057

Doug Olson

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Doug was the children’s director at a church in his hometown. There, he lead a team of nearly 40 volunteers that helped kids know Jesus and love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Doug was called to lead this group for 4 years as a bi-vocational, part-time director until God called him to take some time to minister to his family and study/experience family ministry first hand.

3 responses to Making a Mess to Prove a Point

  1. Great post Doug. I’m actually posting on my blog Wednesday about how I used a messy object lesson to prove a point. It didn’t go quiet the way I planned, but God was able to use it. He always does.

  2. Great article Doug. Let’s face it, God’s Word is messy. There is nothing pristine or clean about most of it. Sometimes it takes making some noise or a mess to convey that to kids. being a good steward of our resources doesn’t always mean keeping them clean – sometimes it means making a complete mess out of them!

  3. I’ve been fortunate to be in a church where the elders view of facilities is along the lines of “wear the building out for the sake of preaching the Gospel.” I didn’t hesitate about making messes. (Except for glitter — the cleaning people hated that — so we’d use glitter glue when needed.)